For the Australian author, see Jane R. Goodall.
Goodall in Tanzania in 2018
Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall
3 April 1934
London, England, UK
|Known for||Study of chimpanzees, conservation, animal welfare|
Hugo van Lawick
(m. 1964; div. 1974)
(m. 1975; died 1980)
|Awards||Kyoto Prize (1990)|
Hubbard Medal (1995)
Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (1997)
|Thesis||Behaviour of free-living chimpanzees (1966)|
|Doctoral advisor||Robert Hinde|
Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE (//; born Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall, 3 April 1934), formerly Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, is an English primatologist and anthropologist. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her over 55-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees since she first went to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in 1960.
She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots programme, and she has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues. She has served on the board of the Nonhuman Rights Project since its founding in 1996. In April 2002, she was named a UN Messenger of Peace. Dr. Goodall is also honorary member of the World Future Council.
As a child, as an alternative to a teddy bear, Goodall's father gave her a stuffed chimpanzee named Jubilee. Gooddall has said her fondness for this figure started her early love of animals, commenting that "My mother's friends were horrified by this toy, thinking it would frighten me and give me nightmares." Today, Jubilee still sits on Goodall's dresser in London.
Goodall had always been passionate about animals and Africa, which brought her to the farm of a friend in the Kenya highlands in 1957. From there, she obtained work as a secretary, and acting on her friend's advice, she telephoned Louis Leakey, the notable Kenyan archaeologist and palaeontologist, with no other thought than to make an appointment to discuss animals. Leakey, believing that the study of existing great apes could provide indications of the behaviour of early hominids, was looking for a chimpanzee researcher, though he kept the idea to himself. Instead, he proposed that Goodall work for him as a secretary. After obtaining approval from his co-researcher and wife, noted British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, Louis sent Goodall to Olduvai Gorge in Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania), where he laid out his plans.
In 1958, Leakey sent Goodall to London to study primate behaviour with Osman Hill and primate anatomy with John Napier. Leakey raised funds, and on 14 July 1960, Goodall went to Gombe Stream National Park, becoming the first of what would come to be called The Trimates. She was accompanied by her mother, whose presence was necessary to satisfy the requirements of David Anstey, chief warden, who was concerned for their safety.
Leakey arranged funding and in 1962, he sent Goodall, who had no degree, to the University of Cambridge. She went to Newnham College, Cambridge, and obtained a PhD in ethology. She became the eighth person to be allowed to study for a PhD there without first having obtained a BA or BSc. Her thesis was completed in 1965 under the supervision of Robert Hinde on the Behaviour of free-living chimpanzees, detailing her first five years of study at the Gombe Reserve.
Goodall has been married twice. On 28 March 1964, she married a Dutch nobleman, wildlife photographer Baron Hugo van Lawick, at Chelsea Old Church, London, and became known during their marriage as Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall. The couple had a son, Hugo Eric Louis (born 1967); they divorced in 1974. The following year, she married Derek Bryceson (a member of Tanzania's parliament and the director of that country's national parks); he died of cancer in October 1980. With his position in the Tanzanian government as head of the country's national park system, Bryceson was able to protect Goodall's research project and implement an embargo on tourism at Gombe.
When asked if she believes in God, Goodall said in September 2010: "I don't have any idea of who or what God is. But I do believe in some great spiritual power. I feel it particularly when I'm out in nature. It's just something that's bigger and stronger than what I am or what anybody is. I feel it. And it's enough for me."
Goodall is best known for her study of chimpanzee social and family life. She began studying the Kasakela chimpanzee community in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, in 1960. Without collegiate training directing her research, Goodall observed things that strict scientific doctrines may have overlooked. Instead of numbering the chimpanzees she observed, she gave them names such as Fifi and David Greybeard, and observed them to have unique and individual personalities, an unconventional idea at the time. She found that, "it isn't only human beings who have personality, who are capable of rational thought [and] emotions like joy and sorrow." She also observed behaviours such as hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and even tickling, what we consider "human" actions. Goodall insists that these gestures are evidence of "the close, supportive, affectionate bonds that develop between family members and other individuals within a community, which can persist throughout a life span of more than 50 years." These findings suggest that similarities between humans and chimpanzees exist in more than genes alone, and can be seen in emotion, intelligence, and family and social relationships.
Goodall's research at Gombe Stream is best known to the scientific community for challenging two long-standing beliefs of the day: that only humans could construct and use tools, and that chimpanzees were vegetarians. While observing one chimpanzee feeding at a termite mound, she watched him repeatedly place stalks of grass into termite holes, then remove them from the hole covered with clinging termites, effectively "fishing" for termites. The chimps would also take twigs from trees and strip off the leaves to make the twig more effective, a form of object modification that is the rudimentary beginnings of toolmaking. Humans had long distinguished ourselves from the rest of the animal kingdom as "Man the Toolmaker". In response to Goodall's revolutionary findings, Louis Leakey wrote, "We must now redefine man, redefine tool, or accept chimpanzees as human!".
In contrast to the peaceful and affectionate behaviours she observed, Goodall also found an aggressive side of chimpanzee nature at Gombe Stream. She discovered that chimps will systematically hunt and eat smaller primates such as colobus monkeys. Goodall watched a hunting group isolate a colobus monkey high in a tree, block all possible exits, then one chimpanzee climbed up and captured and killed the colobus. The others then each took parts of the carcass, sharing with other members of the troop in response to begging behaviours. The chimps at Gombe kill and eat as much as one-third of the colobus population in the park each year. This alone was a major scientific find that challenged previous conceptions of chimpanzee diet and behaviour.
But perhaps more startling, and disturbing, was the tendency for aggression and violence within chimpanzee troops. Goodall observed dominant females deliberately killing the young of other females in the troop to maintain their dominance, sometimes going as far as cannibalism. She says of this revelation, "During the first ten years of the study I had believed […] that the Gombe chimpanzees were, for the most part, rather nicer than human beings. […] Then suddenly we found that chimpanzees could be brutal—that they, like us, had a darker side to their nature." She described the 1974–1978 Gombe Chimpanzee War in her memoir, Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe. Her findings revolutionised contemporary knowledge of chimpanzee behaviour, and were further evidence of the social similarities between humans and chimpanzees, albeit in a much darker manner.
Goodall also set herself apart from the traditional conventions of the time by naming the animals in her studies of primates, instead of assigning each a number. Numbering was a nearly universal practice at the time, and thought to be important in the removal of one's self from the potential for emotional attachment to the subject being studied. Setting herself apart from other researchers also led her to develop a close bond with the chimpanzees and to become, to this day, the only human ever accepted into chimpanzee society. She was the lowest ranking member of a troop for a period of 22 months. Among those whom Goodall named during her years in Gombe were:
In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), which supports the Gombe research, and she is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. With nineteen offices around the world, the JGI is widely recognised for community-centred conservation and development programs in Africa. Its global youth program, Roots & Shoots began in 1991 when a group of 16 local teenagers met with Goodall on her back porch in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. They were eager to discuss a range of problems they knew about from first-hand experience that caused them deep concern. The organisation now has over 10,000 groups in over 100 countries.
Due to an overflow of handwritten notes, photographs, and data piling up at Jane's home in Dar es Salaam in the mid-1990s, the Jane Goodall Institute's Center for Primate Studies was created at the University of Minnesota to house and organise this data. Currently all of the original Jane Goodall archives reside there and have been digitised and analysed and placed in an online database. On 17 March 2011, Duke University spokesman Karl Bates announced that the archives will move to Duke, with Anne E. Pusey, Duke's chairman of evolutionary anthropology, overseeing the collection. Pusey, who managed the archives in Minnesota and worked with Goodall in Tanzania, had worked at Duke for a year.
Goodall credits the 1986 Understanding Chimpanzees conference, hosted by the Chicago Academy of Sciences, with shifting her focus from observation of chimpanzees to a broader and more intense concern with animal-human conservation. She is the former president of Advocates for Animals, an organisation based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that campaigns against the use of animals in medical research, zoos, farming and sport.
Goodall is a vegetarian and advocates the diet for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. In The Inner World of Farm Animals, Goodall writes that farm animals are "far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined and, despite having been bred as domestic slaves, they are individual beings in their own right. As such, they deserve our respect. And our help. Who will plead for them if we are silent?" Goodall has also said: "Thousands of people who say they 'love' animals sit down once or twice a day to enjoy the flesh of creatures who have been treated so with little respect and kindness just to make more meat."
In April 2008, Goodall gave a lecture entitled "Reason for Hope" at the University of San Diego's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series.
In May 2008, Goodall controversially described Edinburgh Zoo's new primate enclosure as a "wonderful facility" where monkeys "are probably better off [than those] living in the wild in an area like Budongo, where one in six gets caught in a wire snare, and countries like Congo, where chimpanzees, monkeys and gorillas are shot for food commercially." This was in conflict with Advocates for Animals' position on captive animals. In June 2008, Goodall confirmed that she had resigned the presidency of the organisation which she had held since 1998, citing her busy schedule and explaining, "I just don't have time for them."
In 2011, Goodall became a patron of Australian animal protection group Voiceless, the animal protection institute. "I have for decades been concerned about factory farming, in part because of the tremendous harm inflicted on the environment, but also because of the shocking ongoing cruelty perpetuated on millions of sentient beings."
In 2012, Goodall took on the role of challenger for the Engage in Conservation Challenge with the DO School, formerly known as the D&F Academy. She worked with a group of aspiring social entrepreneurs to create a workshop to engage young people in conserving biodiversity, and to tackle a perceived global lack of awareness of the issue.
In 2014, Goodall wrote to Air France executives criticizing the airline's continued transport of monkeys to laboratories. Goodall called the practice "cruel" and "traumatic" for the monkeys involved. The same year Goodall also wrote to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to criticize maternal deprivation experiments on baby monkeys in NIH laboratories.
Goodall used unconventional practices in her study, for example, naming individuals instead of numbering them. At the time, numbering was used to prevent emotional attachment and loss of objectivity.
Goodall wrote in 1993: "When, in the early 1960s, I brazenly used such words as 'childhood', 'adolescence', 'motivation', 'excitement', and 'mood' I was much criticised. Even worse was my crime of suggesting that chimpanzees had 'personalities'. I was ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman animals and was thus guilty of that worst of ethological sins -anthropomorphism."
Many standard methods aim to avoid interference by observers, and in particular some believe that the use of feeding stations to attract Gombe chimpanzees has altered normal foraging and feeding patterns and social relationships. This argument is the focus of a book published by Margaret Power in 1991. It has been suggested that higher levels of aggression and conflict with other chimpanzee groups in the area were due to the feeding, which could have created the "wars" between chimpanzee social groups described by Goodall, aspects of which she did not witness in the years before artificial feeding began at Gombe. Thus, some regard Goodall's observations as distortions of normal chimpanzee behaviour. Goodall herself acknowledged that feeding contributed to aggression within and between groups, but maintained that the effect was limited to alteration of the intensity and not the nature of chimpanzee conflict, and further suggested that feeding was necessary for the study to be effective at all. Craig Stanford of the Jane Goodall Research Institute at the University of Southern California states that researchers conducting studies with no artificial provisioning have a difficult time viewing any social behaviour of chimpanzees, especially those related to inter-group conflict.
Some recent studies, such as those by Crickette Sanz in the Goualougo Triangle (Congo) and Christophe Boesch in the Taï National Park (Ivory Coast), have not shown the aggression observed in the Gombe studies. However, other primatologists disagree that the studies are flawed; for example, Jim Moore provides a critique of Margaret Powers' assertions and some studies of other chimpanzee groups have shown aggression similar to that in Gombe even in the absence of feeding.
On 22 March 2013, Hachette Book Group announced that Goodall's and co-author Gail Hudson's new book, Seeds of Hope, would not be released on 2 April as planned due to the discovery of plagiarised portions. A reviewer for the Washington Post found unattributed sections lifted from websites about organic tea, tobacco, and "an amateurish astrology site", as well as from Wikipedia. Goodall apologised and stated, "It is important to me that the proper sources are credited, and I will be working diligently with my team to address all areas of concern. My goal is to ensure that when this book is released it is not only up to the highest of standards, but also that the focus be on the crucial messages it conveys." The book was released on 1 April 2014, after review and the addition of 57 pages of endnotes.
One of Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons shows two chimpanzees grooming. One finds a blonde human hair on the other and inquires, "Conducting a little more 'research' with that Jane Goodall tramp?" Goodall herself was in Africa at the time, and the Jane Goodall Institute thought this was in bad taste, and had their lawyers draft a letter to Larson and his distribution syndicate, in which they described the cartoon as an "atrocity." They were stymied by Goodall herself when she returned and saw the cartoon, as she stated that she found the cartoon amusing. Since then, all profits from sales of a shirt featuring this cartoon go to the Jane Goodall Institute. Goodall wrote a preface to The Far Side Gallery 5, detailing her version of the controversy, and the Institute's letter was included next to the cartoon in the complete Far Side collection. She praised Larson's creative ideas, which often compare and contrast the behaviour of humans and animals. In 1988, when Larson visited Gombe he was attacked by a chimpanzee named Frodo.
Goodall has received many honours for her environmental and humanitarian work, as well as others. She was named a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in an Investiture held in Buckingham Palace in 2004. In April 2002, Secretary-General Kofi Annan named Goodall a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Her other honours include the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the French Legion of Honor, Medal of Tanzania, Japan's prestigious Kyoto Prize, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, the Gandhi-King Award for Nonviolence and the Spanish Prince of Asturias Awards. She is also a member of the advisory board of BBC Wildlife magazine and a patron of Population Matters (formerly the Optimum Population Trust). She has received many tributes, honours, and awards from local governments, schools, institutions, and charities around the world. Goodall is honoured by The Walt Disney Company with a plaque on the Tree of Life at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom theme park, alongside a carving of her beloved David Greybeard, the original chimpanzee that approached Goodall during her first year at Gombe. In 2010, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds held a benefit concert at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington DC to commemorate Gombe 50: a global celebration of Jane Goodall's pioneering chimpanzee research and inspiring vision for our future. Time magazine named Goodall as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019.
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Goodall is the subject of more than 40 films:
The following year, I created the Center for the Expansion of Fundamental Rights, Inc. (CEFR), which is now the Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc., with Jane Goodall as a board member.
skeptics attributed chimpanzee 'warfare' to competition over the food that researchers provided
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