historical figures in evolution

Evolution After Darwin: Jane Goodall


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Valerie Jane Morris Goodall (1932-)

Goodall is the foremost expert on chimpanzees, who has devoted her entire life to studying their behavior and raise awareness about the importance of respect for nature and animal life in general. Since very young, Goodall decided her dream was to go to Africa and live with the chimpanzees. She sought support from Louis Leakey, the British anthropologist who initially hired her as his assistant. She finally managed to go to Gombe, Tanzania, where a significant population of chimpanzees lives. She set up a camp that today is a research center and devoted herself to observe the behavior of the apes and take notes of whatever she saw. Her fame spread throughout the world for being the first one to discover that chimpanzees use and make tools.

No one had ever seen chimpanzees cutting twigs from trees, stripping off the leaves and placing them into termite holes. Once the twigs get covered with clinging termites, the chimps fish and feed on them. Together with Birute Galdikas and Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall is one of the three experts in apes, the closest living relatives of humans.

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