Born In: Hampstead, London, England
Famously dubbed as the woman who redefined man, Jane Goodall is an English primatologist, anthropologist, and animal rights activist. She is best known for her 60-year study of behavior of chimpanzees in Tanzania. She was fascinated by animal behavior from her early years and dreamt of traveling to Africa to observe them in their natural habitat. Her passion for animals led her to the ‘Gombe Stream National Park’ in Tanzania. Chimpanzees were considered the second-most intelligent primate by her mentor and anthropologist Louis Leakey. Thus, she began her research by observing them on a daily basis. Her observation of chimpanzees challenged many long-term beliefs, such as chimpanzees are vegetarians. A previous belief that “man is the only toolmaker in all of the species that inhabit the earth” was discarded by her studies. This was considered a significant milestone in the course of scientific history of evolution. She also received many awards and accolades for her activism on creating a better society for animals. She wrote several books to encourage people to treat animals with kindness and love. She spends about 300 days a year traveling, lecturing, and raising funds for her institute in order to preserve wildlife. She was named a 'UN Messenger of Peace' in April 2002.
Also Known As: Dame Jane Morris Goodall, Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall
Spouse/Ex-: Derek Bryceson (m. 1975; died 1980), Hugo van Lawick (m. 1964; div. 1974)
father: Mortimer Herbert Morris-Goodall
mother: Margaret Myfanwe Joseph
siblings: Judith Goodall
children: Hugo Eric Louis van Lawick
Born Country: England
City: London, England
Notable Alumni: Newnham College, Cambridge, Darwin College, Cambridge
education: Newnham College, Cambridge, Darwin College, Cambridge
awards: 1997 - Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement
1995 - Hubbard Medal
2010 - Bambi - Our Earth
International Cosmos Prize
2008 - Glamour Award for The Environmentalist
1999 - Community of Christ
International Peace Award
1996 - William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement
2004 - Nierenberg Prize
2003 - Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science
1991 - Edinburgh Medal
1990 - Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences
Jane Goodall was born Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall on April 3, 1934, in London, England, UK, to Mortimer Herbert Morris-Goodall, a businessman, and Margaret Myfanwe Joseph, a novelist. She had a younger sister named Judy.
Because of her love for wildlife, she left school at the age of eighteen in order to pursue her dream.
Through her friends, she met the famous anthropologist and paleontologist Louis Leakey in Kenya. Leakey believed that observing chimpanzees, the second-most intelligent primate, would provide new information on evolution. He provided her with an opportunity to study them at ‘Gombe Stream National Park’ and she grabbed it with both hands.
Before her observation, it was believed that only humans possessed the skill of making tools and that their ability to make tools distinguished them from other primates. But after her studies on chimpanzees, this belief was abandoned. While observing a chimpanzee, she realized that the animal was effectively “fishing” for termites as it repeatedly placed stalks of grass into termite holes. When it took out the stalk of grass from the hole, it was able to feed on termites clinging to the grass. Her mentor Leaky wrote in an article to the scientific community, “We must now redefine man, redefine tool, or accept chimpanzees as human!”
Her observation also established the fact that chimpanzees are omnivores. She also observed that they are quite capable of rational thought and emotions like sorrow and joy. She also observed behaviors like kisses, hugs, tickling, and pats on the back which were considered "human" actions at the time. On the other hand, she also observed the tendency for violence and aggression among chimpanzees.
In order to protect chimpanzees, she founded ‘Jane Goodall Institute’ in 1977, which now has sub-groups all around the world. Its global youth program ‘Roots & Shoots,’ which focuses on saving them and their habitat, began in 1991.
In 1964, Jane married a Dutch wildlife photographer named Baron Hugo Van Lawick. He was sent to ‘Gombe’ by ‘National Geographic Society’ to shoot the project she was working on. They had a son named Hugo Eric Louis. Jane and Hugo Van Lawick got divorced in 1974.
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