Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall (born April 3, 1934) is a British primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist, probably best-known for conducting a forty-year study of chimpanzee social and family life, as director of the Jane Goodall Institute in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania.
Goodall was born in London, England, the first child of Mortimer Herbert Morris-Goodall and the former Margaret Myfanwe "Vanne" Joseph. Her sister, Judy, was born in 1938. After the divorce of their parents, Jane and Judy moved with their mother to Bournemouth, England, where Vanne's mother and two sisters lived in a home that had been in the Joseph family since around the turn of the century.
Goodall was interested in animals from her youth; this, coupled with her secretarial training prompted noted anthropologist Louis Leakey to hire Goodall as his secretery during her trip to Kenya in 1957 and 1958. It was through her association with Leakey that she began studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park (then known as Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve) in July, 1960.
Goodall has been married twice: first, in 1964, to wildlife photographer Hugo van Lawick ; they divorced amicably in 1974. Their son, Hugo, known as 'Grub', was born in 1967. She then married Derek Bryceson, (a member of Tanzania’s parliament and the director of that country’s national parks) in the mid-1970s, until his death in 1980.
Far Side Controversy
The Goodall Institute thought this was in bad taste, and had their lawyers draft a letter to Larson and his distribution syndicate, in which they described the cartoon as an "atrocity". They were stymied, however, by Goodall herself, who revealed that she found the cartoon amusing. Since then, all profits from sales of a shirt featuring this cartoon go to the Goodall Institute.
Goodall wrote a preface to The Far Side Gallery 5, detailing the "Jane Goodall Tramp" controversy, and also praising The Far Side for Larson's creative ideas, which often compare and contrast the behavior of humans and animals. Larson also described the controversy in detail in The PreHistory of the Far Side (p.167).
Goodall was instrumental in the recognition of social learning, thinking, acting, and culture in wild chimpanzees, their differentiation from the bonobo, and the inclusion of both species along with the gorilla as Hominids.
One of Goodall's major contributions to the field of primatology was the discovery of tool use in chimpanzees. She discovered that some chimpanzees poke twigs into termite mounds. The termites would grab onto the stick with their mandibles and the chimpanzees would then just pull the stick out and eat the termites. Previously, only humans were thought to use tools.
Goodall is an advocate for great ape personhood, having served as a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations since 2002. She was named a Dame of the British Empire (DBE) in a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace in 2004.
She has also appeared (cast as herself) in an episode of Nickelodeon's animated series The Wild Thornberrys entitled "The Trouble With Darwin". She also appears semi-regularly in the webcomic Irregular Webcomic!.
Goodall's Position on Bigfoot
In a 2002 interview with Ira Flatow, the subject of Bigfoot, Yetis and other reported primates came up, and Goodall said "you'll be amazed when I tell you that I'm sure that they exist." Also on the subject, Goodall has further stated that "People from very different backgrounds and different parts of the world have described very similar creatures behaving in similar ways and uttering some strikingly similar sounds ... As far as I am concerned, the existence of hominids of this sort is a very real probability."
- The Jane Goodall Institute
- "Chimpanzees - Bridging the Gap". In Paola Cavalieri & Peter Singer (eds.), The Great Ape Project, New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1993, pp. 10-18.
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