The world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, honored scientist, conservationist, activist, and mentor, Dr. Goodall has redefined species conservation to include the needs of local people and the environment. Today she urges each of us to act on behalf of all living things and the planet we share.
Saturday, December 12, 2020, 12:00 Noon PST
Dr. Jane Goodall
Dr. Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall, in full Dame Jane Goodall, British ethologist, is well known for her
exceptionally detailed and long-term research on the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream
National Park in Tanzania.
Interested in animal behavior from an early age, Goodall left school at age 18, working
as a secretary and as a film production assistant until she gained passage to Africa.
Once there, Goodall began assisting paleontologist and anthropologist Louis Leakey.
Her association with Leakey led eventually to her establishment in June 1960 of a camp
in the Gombe Stream Game Reserve (now a national park) so that she could observe
the behavior of chimpanzees in the region.
National Geographic chose to sponsor Goodall’s work and in 1962 sent Dutch
photographer and filmmaker Hugo van Lawick to document her life in Gombe. They
married in 1964 and later divorced.
The University of Cambridge in 1965 awarded Goodall a Ph.D. in ethology, one of very
few candidates to receive a Ph.D. without having first possessed a bachelor’s degree.
Except for short periods of absence, Goodall and her family remained in Gombe until
1975, often directing the fieldwork of other doctoral candidates.
In 1977 she cofounded the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and
Conservation (commonly called the Jane Goodall Institute) in California, which later
moved its headquarters to the Washington, D.C. area. She has created numerous
other initiatives, including Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots (1991), a youth service
program, and The Lake Tanganyika Catchment Reforestation and Education project
Over the years Goodall was able to correct a number of misunderstandings about
chimpanzees. She found, for example, that the animals are omnivorous, not vegetarian;
that they are capable of making and using tools; and, in short, that they have a set of
previously unrecognized complex and highly developed social behaviors.
In 2002 she became a UN Messenger of Peace. The recipient of numerous honors,
Goodall was created Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in
2003. Jane, a documentary about her life and work, appeared in 2017.
Dr. Goodall’s list of publications includes “Hope for Animals and Their World: How
Endangered Species are Being Rescued from the Brink”, two overviews of her work at
Gombe — “In the Shadow of Man” and “Through a Window” — as well as two
autobiographies in letters, the best-selling autobiography “Reason for Hope” and many
children’s books. “The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior” is the definitive
scientific work on chimpanzees and is the culmination of Dr. Goodall’s scientific career.
She has been the subject of numerous television documentaries and is featured in the
large-screen format film “Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees” (2002). She also has been
featured in five Animal Planet specials: “Jane Goodall’s Return to Gombe”, “Jane
Goodall’s State of the Great Ape”, “Jane Goodall’s Heroes”, “When Animals Talk” and
most recently, “Almost Human”.
Goodall continues to write and lecture about environmental and conservation issues,
traveling nearly 300 days annually. She is considered a foremost scientist,
conservationist, activist and mentor to people of all ages worldwide. urging her
audiences to recognize their personal power and responsibility to effect positive change
through consumer action, lifestyle change and activism.