Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934 in London, England. When she was about one year of age, her father gifted her with a life-like chimpanzee toy. This chimpanzee toy was named, Jubilee. This toy symbolized the first baby chimpanzee that was born at the London Zoo. From a young age, Jane expressed a big heart for animals. As a child, Jane was always enthusiastic about learning more about animals as well as spending her time outdoors.
One day her parents panicked thinking Jane was missing, however, they later found her in the chicken house closely observing how chickens lay eggs. Her love for animals grew even more and it led her to dream about one day travelling to Africa to see some of her favorite animals. Out of all the animals she loved, she particularly had a love for chimpanzees.At the age of 19, Jane was enrolled into the London’s Queens Secretarial College. During this time, she wanted to be a journalist. However, her mom encouraged her to pursue something that will guarantee her a job. After she graduated, she worked a clerical job in Bournemouth, and later at Oxford University for a film company. Throughout this time, she realized that her dream was to go to Africa, live with the animals, and write books about them.
Jane decided to work in order to pay for her trip. During the summer of 1955, a school friend had invited her to visit the family’s farm in Kenya for a few months. About two years later, Jane saved enough money for the trip, and she made her way by ship to Kenya. Upon arriving in Africa, she met up with a British archaeologist named Louis Leakey.
Louis was currently studying the relationship between chimpanzees and humans based on Charles Darwin idea about human origin. Louis offered Jane the opportunity to become his secretary as he would become her mentor. Due to Jane’s passion for animals and her patient personality, Louis knew that Jane would be an excellent candidate for a chimpanzee researcher though she was not formally trained. Since she was not formally trained, Louis believed this would be an advantage as she would be observing the chimpanzee in a unique way that many doctrines may have overlooked.Jane was then sent to begin her work at Gombe National Park located in southeastern Africa. She remained here for more than two decades.
Many times she would be found working independently or in other cases she would have a native guide with her. Throughout these two decades she uncovered new things about the animal as she patiently worked to obtain the chimpanzee’s trust. At first, Jane decided to watch the chimpanzees from a distance but she became frustrated as the chimpanzees continued to be frightened of her. Jane was eager to be close to the chimps, so she placed several bananas in the vicinity of her camp. Jane’s patient nature soon was rewarded by chimpanzees not being frightened by closer human appearance.
After a while, the brave chimps from the group came to her campsite. She later established a feeding base in a cleared portion of the forest to get a better view on the chimpanzee’s social behavior. It was known before that chimpanzees were violent, aggressive animals. However, Jane observed the opposite.The way Jane approached her observations was different from the scientific ways. Other researchers who have observed the behaviors of animals normally do not involve themselves to live with wild primates over a long period of time. In addition, previous researchers would have numbered the chimps while Jane took the time to give each chimp a name.
These names were because Jane saw that the chimps had a level of personality, cleverness, and social skills many have overlooked. Jane was able to prove that chimpanzees have a social structure that is quite complex. In addition, the chimps were affectionate and attentive parents to their offspring and peers. Furthermore, chimps were hunters and ate meat. Jane discovered that chimps utilized twigs as a simple tool to catch termites. Overall, Jane’s discovery challenged scientists to abandon the thought that humans were the only animals who utilized tools.
Louis encouraged her to complete a doctorate degree in order to make her scientific discoveries credible. Jane was to obtain her doctorate degree from Cambridge University.Despite the fact that Jane never graduated from university, Cambridge made an exception for her. They allowed her to be enrolled in the doctorate program where her mentor, Dr. Robert Hinde, oversaw her continued study on the Gombe chimpanzees.
Jane worked hard towards her doctorate degree in ethology. In the year 1965, she based her thesis on the free ranging chimp’s behavior. Having gained the official title of a doctor, her hard work resulted in essential details that are needed to better understand genealogies, mating strategies, intracommunity and intercommunity aggression, and other information needed to better understand animal behaviors.
As an anthropologist, Jane’s long research study of the chimpanzee’s social life and family life played a role in cultural anthropology. Due to Jane’s critical observation skills, she developed methods for observing the behaviors of social learning, reasoning, action, and society of the chimpanzees in the wild compared to other primates. Furthermore, Jane challenged scientists to redefine humans, as chimpanzees were thought to possess similar traits.Goodall has provided the world with key information that have contributed to a lot of the knowledge we know about chimpanzees, and its relation to humans, today. She will forever be highly respected for the time and dedication she has put into her study. In addition, the time she takes to put bring awareness to the environments welfare and the animals that inhabit it, is a wonderful aspect of her being. Through her efforts, many countries across the world have awarded her. Today, she uses her journalism skills to write several books and articles that illustrate the experiences she has had with chimpanzees in Africa.
In addition, she travels across the world to encourage others to conserve the Earth’s environment as well as animal welfare.