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Dame Jane Morris Goodall was born April 3, 1934 is an English primatologist and anthropologist. Seen as the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees since she first went to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in 1960, where she witnessed human-like behaviours amongst chimpanzees, including armed conflict. In April 2002, she was named a UN Messenger of Peace. Goodall is an honorary member of the World Future Council.
In the 1960s, with no formal academic training, Jane Goodall ventured into the forests of what is now Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, to observe chimpanzees in the wild. During her time there, she made several observations about chimpanzee behavior that challenged conventional scientific theories held at the time, including chimpanzees are omnivores, not herbivores; chimpanzees make and use tools; and chimpanzees have complex social interactions. These insights altered the way we understood our place in the natural order and Jane’s work opened doors for other women in science. Although Jane stopped doing fieldwork in 1986, she is still hard at work today, traveling approximately 300 days a year, raising awareness and money to protect the chimpanzees and their habitat through her nonprofit organization, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), and JGI’s youth program, Roots & Shoots.
Use the educator resources below to teach about the importance of conservation and how today’s students—and tomorrow’s leaders—can make an impact.
The Story of Jane Goodall: A Biography Book for New Readers by Susan B. Katz
Jane Goodall is a celebrated scientist for her studies of chimpanzees in the forests of Africa. Before she observed chimps and helped save them from losing their home, Jane was a curious kid who loved learning about animals. She showed people that women could be scientists, just like men, and fought to follow her dream of working with wild chimps. Explore how Jane Goodall went from being a young nature lover in England to the most important chimpanzee expert in the world.
Who Is Jane Goodall? by Roberta Edwards
A life in the wild!
Jane Goodall, born in London, England, always loved animals and wanted to study them in their natural habitats. So at age twenty-six, off she went to Africa! Goodall’s up-close observations of chimpanzees changed what we know about them and paved the way for many female scientists who came after her. Now her story comes to life in this biography with black-and-white illustrations throughout
The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter
Acclaimed picture book biographer Jeanette Winter has found her perfect subject: Jane Goodall, the great observer of chimpanzees. Follow Jane from her childhood in London watching a robin on her windowsill, to her years in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania, invited by brilliant scientist Louis Leakey to observe chimps, to her worldwide crusade to save these primates who are now in danger of extinction, and their habitat. Young animal lovers and Winter’s many fans will welcome this fascinating and moving portrait of an extraordinary person and the animals to whom she has dedicated her life.
I am Jane Goodall (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer
After receiving a stuffed animal chimpanzee for her first birthday, Jane Goodall’s love of animals only grew. She saw what humans and animals had in common, not what makes us different, and used that to advocate for animal rights everywhere, becoming famous for her work with chimpanzees.