Jane Goodall

I always heard of Jane Goodall, a woman who studied chimpanzees, and as intrigued as I was about her story, I only ever learned a little bit. But know I realize that she is so much more than just a scientist. Born in 1934, Jane Goodall is a British wildlife conservationist who worked her whole career studying chimpanzees in Tanzania. Sh has worked so hard to pursue her love for animals and is now known all over the world for her amazing research. 


Although Jane Goodall was a very good student as a child, as you may infer from her career, she actually ended up dropping out of school at age 18 in order to work as a secretary so that she could afford to fly to Africa, inspired by her passion for wildlife and nature. She eventually gained passage to Africa and found a job there being the assistant for Louis Leakey, a paleontologist and anthropologist. This was an excellent turn of events because due to her association with Leakey, she ended up being led to another job studying chimpanzees in 1960. She ended up really loving the job and later explained in an interview that she came to Africa with no experience in college, not knowing about how scientists thought reductively towards animals, and therefore had quite an open mind about the intelligence and feelings of chimps.


This is something that Jane Goodall often finds herself praised for; having an open mind and really validating an animal’s feelings in order to enhance her research and relationships with the animals she may be working with. I admire her because of this, as scientists, a most humans, really, overlook the fact that animals are living beings as well and not just subjects of one’s research.


She later ended up marrying a Dutch photographer in 1964, having a son, then divorcing the man shortly after. The University of Cambridge awarded Jane Goodall a Ph.D. for her outstanding research and pioneering work in the field of understanding evolution in animals. After that, she remarried. The man she married, Derek Bryceson, happened to be a director of the Tanzanian National Park system, and agreed to reestablish the space where Jane Goodall had been working in her chimpanzee research into a national park, much to the happiness of Goodall and her coworkers. 


Jane Goodall has discovered an incredible amount of information about chimpanzees over her prolific years of work in that career, such as the fact that chimpanzees are actually omnivorous, not vegetarians, and that they are actually able to make tools with their bare hands. She has written many books and articles about these wonderful animals and became a UN Messenger of Peace in 2002. Overall, Jane Goodall has worked her entire life to help conserve chimpanzees and learn more about them. She still inspires people today at the age of 88, and her love for the great outdoors has never and will never falter.