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Women in Science

Jane Goodall (b.1934)

Jane Goodall HKJane Goodall took her first trip to the African continent at age 22, and shortly upon her arrival in Nairobi, Kenya began working under paleontologist Louis Leakey. Leakey believed in Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory, that humans and chipmanzees share a common ancestor. In 1960, Leakey tasked Goodall with performing a study that would require living among the chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in Tanzania to observe their behavior. Her observations and discoveries opened an entire world of understanding of the previously unseen world of chimpanzees. She witnessed them using tools, hunting, and communicating in complex ways. She was admitted to Cambridge University's PhD program, despite never having obtained an undergraduate education. In 1977 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute to support research in Gombe and help protect chimpanzees. In 1991, she co-founded Roots & Shoots, a youth conservation education program that spans 100 countries. 

Goodall's methods of  applying participant-observer methods of sociology to field biology has since been adopted by researchers across the field of study.  Her first book My Friends, the Wild Chimpanzees was well received by the public. Her attention shifted from observation to conservation as deforestation continued to take its toll on natural habitats. Goodall continues her work today through public speaking engagements centered on chimpanzees and the threats facing the environment. 



"About Jane" the Jane Goodall Institute. Accessed 04 Feb. 2019.

"GOODALL, Jane." An African Biographical Dictionary, Norbert C. Brockman, Grey House Publishing, 2nd edition, 2006. Credo Reference, Accessed 04 Feb. 2019.

Tullis, Paul. "Jane Goodall is Still Wild at Heart." The New York Times Magazine, 13 Mar. 2015, Accessed 4 Feb. 2019.


Image credit: Jeekc [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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