Early Years and Motivation
Jane Goodall was born in London, 1934. Inspired by Tarzan books and Dr. Dolittle, she dreamt of living among African wildlife to help them. A secretarial job financed her voyage to Africa, starting her legendary journey.
Breaking Scientific Norms
Goodall's arrival at Gombe in 1960 marked a turning point. Without formal training, she observed chimps with human-like empathy, challenging the era's scientific detachment and revolutionizing primatology with her groundbreaking behavioral observations.
Chimps Using Tools
Observing a chimp named David Greybeard using grass to extract termites was revolutionary. Before Goodall's discovery, humans were considered the only species to make tools, fundamentally changing our understanding of human exceptionalism.
Naming, Not Numbering
Defying standard practices, Jane named the chimps she studied, like David Greybeard and Flo, instead of assigning them numbers. This humanization of her subjects was controversial but underscored the individual personalities and emotional complexity of chimpanzees.
Roots & Shoots Initiative
In 1991, Goodall launched the Roots & Shoots program, empowering young people to enact change for communities, animals, and the environment. Today, it's a global network with over 150 countries participating in conservation and humanitarian efforts.
UN Messenger of Peace
Goodall’s activism and environmental advocacy led to her appointment as a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2002, reappointed in 2007 and 2020. Her role amplifies the urgency of conservation and inspires global action.
Voice Against Biomedical Research
Jane Goodall is a vocal opponent of using chimpanzees in biomedical research. She has worked tirelessly to improve the welfare of captive chimps and successfully lobbying for their retirement from medical testing.