Jane Goodall Jane Goodall once said, “I wanted to talk to the animals like Dr. Doolittle. ” Obviously you can tell from this quote that Jane Goodall was very passionate about animals. She was an ethologist, which is a person who studies the behavior of animals, and more specifically a primatologist. She studied chimpanzees in Africa and made ground breaking discoveries about the similarities between primates and humans. So in a nutshell, the research of Jane Goodall was revolutionary and it changed the way that we view ourselves.
Before she was conducting powerful research in Africa, she started out as a normal child. She was born on April 3, 1934, in London, England. She had always loved animals and this was easily seen when at the age of 4 she slept with earthworms in her bed and stayed in a hen house for 5 hours to see her hen lay an egg. See loved all animals but her infatuation with primates stemmed from receiving a stuffed chimpanzee which she named Jubilee, at the age of 2. This was from Current Biography. Jane had always dreamed of going to Africa to be among nature but it took her several years to make it there.
Finally, one of her friends invited her to her family’s farm in Kenya. She finally got to Africa in 1957 at the age of 23. Jane greatly enjoyed being in Africa and once there she was determined to find the paleontologist, Louis Leakey. She was able to meet him and when she did she found out he was doing a study on apes. He ended up letting her be the main field worker. The scientific community thought that it was crazy to let a woman with no science education run a study. Leakey was aware of these conceptions but didn’t pay them any mind.
So in the year 1960, Jane set off for Gombe, Africa to begin researching. Just before Goodall was getting ready to start the study, many researchers discouraged her, telling her that she would never get close to the chimps and it would be a waste of time. Jane didn’t head any of this advice. She knew that she was going to this study her way and that she would be successful. The first two months were a little disappointing for Jane. She would walk through the underbrush and only be able to hear the chimps screeching from high above and rarely, even catch a glimpse of a chimp.
When she thought that everything was going terribly, she found a place she called, the “peak. ” The peak was a clearing about 100 ft. above the jungle floor. Jane could sit there and observe the chimps’ natural behavior. It was here where Jane started gathering her first observations. She saw the chimps greet one another with hugs and kisses and walk hand in hand. Once she even witnessed a male take a female’s hand and gently kiss it. Jane was able to conclude from these first few observations that chimps are very social creatures like us.
In no time at all, Jane had made a discovery that shocked the science world. She had observed chimps on several occasions strategically, hunt down and kill other animals. Until then it was believed that chimpanzees were herbivores. Another ground breaking discovery that Goodall made around that same time was that chimps made tools to help them do things. According to PBS, she saw a chimp pick out a grass stem, whittle it with his teeth, and use it as a sort of fishing pole to scrape insects out of the ground.
No one had ever recorded seeing any creature other than a human create a tool. This made people rethink the definition of a human. Even though Goodall was making discoveries, she still wasn’t pleased with the fact that she wasn’t able to get close to any chimps yet. Her new focus was to do just that. She would sit on the forest floor and watch as the chimps walked by. Eventually they warmed up to her and came closer. Suddenly the chimps were aggressive toward her but after a few weeks it stopped and the chimps let her follow them while hunting for food.
Soon she was even able to start interacting with them a little. She had a special connection with a chimp she named David Grey Beard. He was the first chimp she actually made physical contact with. Many of Jane’s peers didn’t like her because she named her subjects, and told stories about them instead of recording data. A lot of them didn’t trust the authenticity of her discoveries. Jane disregarded all of this negativity. She called herself an “old fashioned naturalist. ” In fact she said she would have stopped if she had had to things the official way.
In the end, Goodall’s discoveries were validated and some of her research techniques have been adopted by the scientific community. So in conclusion, the research of Jane Goodall was revolutionary and it changed the way that we view ourselves. She discovered that chimps were omnivores ancd used tools; are social creatures just like humans; and was able to have contact with a wild chimp which no one else had done. So after hearing about Jane Goodall can you say that you are that much different than a chimp?