Jane Goodall is the world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees. Her pioneering research and discoveries have made, and continue to make, revolutionary advances in scientific thinking about the evolution of human beings.
Born in London, Goodall was 26 years old when she traveled to the Gombe National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, East Africa, and embarked on her landmark study of chimpanzees under the mentorship of famed anthropologist and paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey. She began by living in the chimps’ environment and gaining their confidence — and what she eventually observed in the wild challenged virtually every conventional notion about chimpanzees. Goodall found highly intelligent, emotional creatures living in complex social groups. Most dramatically, her work revealed the surprising fact that chimpanzees, like humans, made and used tools. She also discovered that chimps were far from being passive vegetarians.
In her work, Dr. Goodall defied scientific convention by giving the Gombe chimps names instead of numbers, and insisted on the validity of her observations that animals have distinct personalities, minds and emotions. Dr. Goodall wrote of enduring chimpanzee family relationships, and, further along in her research at Gombe, she and Gombe researchers made the unsettling discovery that chimpanzees engage in a primitive form of brutal “warfare.”
In 1965, Dr. Goodall earned her PhD in ethology from Cambridge University. Soon thereafter, she returned to Tanzania to continue research and establish the Gombe Stream Research Center.
In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute, which continues the Gombe research and is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. The institute is also widely recognized for establishing innovative, community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa, and the Roots & Shoots education program, which has more than 8,000 groups in 96 countries.
Today, Jane Goodall spends most of her time traveling around the globe, lecturing, writing, teaching, sharing her message of world peace and hope for the future, and encouraging young people to make a difference in the world.