Jane Goodall: Transformation of the Planet
Humanities 7/8 A
“Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved,” said Jane Goodall, a transformative biologist, and animal rights activist. Ever since Goodall was a little girl she was intrigued by animals and their behavior. She had always wanted to travel and observe animals in their natural habitat. When she was only 26 she made her dream come true and inspired many children around the world that they can do anything they put their mind to. Jane Goodall made many discoveries about animals and evolution that strengthened our knowledge of the world and also co-founded the Jane Goodall Institute to improve chimpanzee conservation.
Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall was born April 3rd, 1934 in London, England. Her mother, Margaret Myfanwe Joseph, wrote novels, and her father, Mortimer Herbert Goodall, worked in business. She was four years old when her sister, Judith, was born. In Goodall’s free time she would watch birds and write about their behavior. She was fascinated with zoology, and ethology and from a very young age, she knew she wanted to be a biologist. Jane attended Upland Private School before she left at the age of 18 to become a secretary and an assistant film director. She met a famous paleontologist and anthropologist, Louis Leakey. Leaky also had an interest in primates’ behavior, and years later led her to journey into the world of chimpanzees.
At the age of only 26, Jane Goodall, conquered her dreams and set out to Tanzania to spend years studying chimpanzees. Not very many studies of chimpanzees in the wild had been successful yet. This was because the chimpanzees were easily frightened and thus displayed unnatural behavior, or the researcher did not spend enough time observing them to get full knowledge of their behavior. Luis Leaky admired Goodall and felt she was perfect for the journey. On July 16, 1960, Goodall flew from England to Africa with her mother and a cook. She lived in a camp on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in the Gombe Stream Reserve. Her first try observing the primates failed, as she couldn’t get closer than 500 yards away from them. She decided to find another group of chimps and soon she was able to observe them every morning on high ground, near a feeding area along the Kakaombe Stream valley. After a year of heavy research the apes tolerated her and she was able to get as close as 30 feet to the feeding area. Finally, after two years of being away from civilization, the chimpanzees accepted her and would even come to her for bananas.
Throughout her time with chimpanzees, Goodall made many discoveries that transformed our knowledge of animals, nature, and ourselves. The first discovery she made was called, “The Banana Club.” She used a daily, planned, feeding, regimen to become close with over 100 chimps. She gained their trust, and also created a better understanding of their behavior. Another way she was able to observe them was by imitating them. She climbed trees and even ate their food. She discovered their way of communication, consisting of more than 20 individual sounds. She is known for the first record observation of chimpanzees eating meat and making and using tools. In 1965, Jane Goodall was given a PhD in ethology, and stayed in Gombe until 1975.
After fifty years of work, Goodall used her knowledge of primates and people to create the Jane Goodall Institute and worked to build a better planet. It was founded in 1977 as a wildlife research, education, and chimpanzee conservation institution in California. The institute has the longest running field research in the world. The research they do helps us create a better scientific understanding of our closest living relatives and the planet we live on. Today Jane travels the world spreading awareness about chimpanzees, and environmental issues. Her message is to take action and save the Earth.
Jane Goodall dedicated her life to studying chimpanzees. She changed the world by working hard to give the people a better understanding of themselves and environment. She is a role model to kids all over the world because she was able to accomplish her goals and make many discoveries along the way. Not only did she make many revelations in her career, she also co-founded the Jane Goodall Institute. The institute was created to protect chimpanzees from extinction as well as learn and spread knowledge around the world. After more than fifty years of work with chimpanzees, Jane Goodall continues to work hard to make discoveries, advocate for our closely related species, and help the environment all over the globe.
“Jane Goodall Biography.” Biography.com. February 27, 2018. A&E Television Networks. March 1, 2018. <https://www.biography.com/people/jane-goodall-9542363>
The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Jane Goodall, British Ethologist” Britannica.com. January 4 2018. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. March 1, 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jane-Goodall>
Tullis, Paul. “Jane Goodall is Still Wild at Heart.” The New York Times Magazine. March 3, 2015. The New York Times Company. March 1, 2018. <https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/magazine/jane-goodall-is-still-wild-at-heart.htm>
“Our Work and Research.” JaneGoodall.com. April 19, 2017. Kite Inc. March 1, 2018. <http://www.janegoodall.org/our-work/our-scienceresearch/>