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World renowned primatologist Dame Jane Goodall was born in 1934 in London. Long before she rose to become the world’s expert on primates, notably chimpanzees, Jane was given a stuffed animal by her father – a lifelike chimpanzee. She credits this gift as the impetus for her lifelong adoration of animals. In 1957, Dr. Goodall began working in the Kenya highlands, and then later worked as a research assistant on a project designed to study primates more thoroughly.
After spending a few years studying primate behavior under John Napier and Osman Hill in London, Jane began her formal studies at Cambridge University. Prior to graduating with a PhD in ethology in the mid 1960’s, Dr. Goodall began her studies at the Gombe Reserve, studying the behavior or free-ranging chimpanzees. Her first five years of study became her graduate thesis, and it wasn’t long before Jane was establishing herself as a leading expert in the fields anthropology and primate behavior.
Today, Dr. Jane Goodall, or “Dame” Jane Goodall, is best known for her nearly six decade long study on the wild chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park. In the late 1970’s, she established the Jane Goodall Institute to support the extensive research; the institute’s program Roots & Shoots, which encourages teens and college studies to participate in various studies, was created about fifteen years later.
Jane’s extensive research is currently housed at the University of Minnesota in a number of digital and online databases. Dr. Goodall has also authored dozens of books on various topics related to animal welfare, animal rights, and in particular the plight of the world’s chimpanzees. Notable works include: The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior (1986); Through a Window: 40 Years Observing the Gombe Chimpanzees (1990); 40 Years at Gombe (2000); Beyond Innocent: An Autobiography in Letters (2001); and The Ten Trusts: What we Must Do to Care for the Animals We Love (2002.) Notable films featuring Goodall and her work include: Among the Wild Chimpanzees (1984); The Life and Legend of Jane Goodall (1990); and Jane Goodall’s Return to Gombe (2005.) Her 2006 film – Chimps, So Like Us – was also nominated for a 1990 Academy Award.
Jane Goodall continues to devote nearly all of her time to animal advocacy, particularly on the plight of the chimpanzee. A strict vegetarian, Goodall also speaks on the ethical and environmental benefits of the diet. Her most recent book, Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants, was published in 2013.
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