14 July 1960

Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve in present-day Tanzania to begin her study of chimpanzees in the wild

Jane Goodall is a renowned British primatologist, anthropologist, and animal rights activist who is best known for her groundbreaking research on wild chimpanzees in Tanzania. Her work has revolutionized our understanding of primate behavior and has had a profound impact on the fields of anthropology, ecology, and conservation.

Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934, in London, England. Her fascination with animals began at an early age, and she dreamed of working with them in Africa. In 1957, at the age of 23, she fulfilled her dream by traveling to what is now Tanzania to work as a secretary for archaeologist and paleontologist Louis Leakey.

Leakey recognized Goodall’s passion for animals and offered her the opportunity to study chimpanzees in the wild. In 1960, Goodall began her groundbreaking research in the Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, where she observed and documented the behavior of wild chimpanzees.

Goodall’s research challenged the prevailing scientific notions of the time, which believed that humans were the only species capable of using tools. She observed chimpanzees using and making tools, such as using sticks to extract termites from termite mounds. This discovery had profound implications for our understanding of the evolutionary relationship between humans and other primates.

Goodall also made important observations about the social structure and behavior of chimpanzees. She discovered that chimpanzees have complex social relationships, engage in cooperative hunting, and exhibit aggressive behaviors. Her findings shed light on the similarities and differences between humans and chimpanzees, and they continue to influence our understanding of primate behavior today.

In addition to her research, Goodall has been a prominent advocate for conservation and animal welfare. She founded the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, which works to protect chimpanzees and their habitats and promotes environmental education and sustainable practices. The institute has since expanded its efforts to include other endangered species and ecosystems around the world.

Jane Goodall’s contributions to science and conservation have been widely recognized and honored. She has received numerous awards and honors, including the Kyoto Prize, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, and the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science. Goodall’s work has also inspired generations of scientists and environmentalists to study and protect the natural world.