Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall was born April 3, 1934 to parents Mortimer and Vanne Goodall in London, England. As a young girl, Jane had a love for animals. She loved books about animals such as the Tarzan stories, The Jungle Book and The Story of Dr. Doolittle. At an early age she set her dreams on going to Africa to live with the animals.

After high school, Jane attended secretarial school. Afterwards she found a job in England with a documentary film company. She was invited by a friend to visit Kenya. She eagerly accepted and sailed to Africa at the age of 23. Shortly after arriving, she found Dr. Louis Leakey, a renowned paleontologist and anthropologist. She made an appointment to meet him and was hired as his assistant. Louis, Jane and Louis’s wife Mary traveled to Olduvai Gorge on a fossil-hunting expedition. After three months in Olduvai Gorge the three returned to Nairobi, Kenya where Jane worked in a museum. Louis later convinced her to study the chimpanzees on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. She and her mother arrived in Gombe National Park in 1960. She married her husband Hugo van Lawick, a photographer and filmmaker for the National Geographic in 1964.

In 1965, Jane earned her Ph.D. in Ethology from Cambridge University. She later returned to Gombe to continue her research and she established the Gombe Stream Research Centre with Hugo. Hugo and Jane gave birth to their son Hugo Eric Louis van Lawick on March 4, 1967. After his birth, Jane cut down on her work to raise her son. Her husband continued his work as a wildlife photographer and traveled all around Africa. Soon their work interfered with their marriage and Jane and Hugo divorced. In 1975 Jane remarried to the head of the Tanzanian National Park, Derek Bryceson. They were married for five years until Derek became ill. He died in 1980 of cancer.

Throughout her studies, Jane made significant discoveries about Chimpanzees. In 1961 she witnessed two chimps peel leaves from a twig to extract termites from their mounds. She also observed chimps hunt and eat bush pigs. This proves how close to human beings Chimpanzees are and scientists were forced to redefine Homo sapiens. In 1972 the chimps split into two groups, the southern group led by Hugh and Charlie, and the northern group led by Humphrey. By 1974, the separation is complete and the two groups begin a war that lasts four years. In 1987, Jane witnessed Spindle adopt an orphaned youngster named Mel.

Jane Goodall has shed light on the world of Chimpanzees. She has written a score of publications and books enlightening the world about chimps. Now Jane lectures and encourages young people to make a difference in the world. She teaches all humans to be humane towards animals and nature.