Profile on: Jane Goodall, anthropologist & UN Messenger of Peace

This is the second in a series of posts about interesting, inspiring and influential people. 


Jane Goodall with Freud. Pre-approved image by Michael Neugebauer

Who: Jane Goodall, British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace 
Born: 3rd April, 1934  
Claim to fame: Goodall is considered to be the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees

Snapshot of Notable Facts and Achievements: 

  • After a series of chance encounters, Goodall arrived at the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in western Tanzania in 1960 to take on a project: studying chimpanzees.
  • Goodall defied scientific convention by giving the chimps she was researching names instead of numbers.
  • Soon after commencing her research Goodall saw chimps strip the leaves off twigs in order to make tools for fishing out termites from a nest. This was an important discovery and proved that humans aren’t the only tool-making species. 
  • Other of Goodall’s significant discoveries about chimpanzees included that they were not vegetarians, they engaged in war, they taught each other skills and they displayed compassion.
  • In 1962 Goodall entered Cambridge University as a Ph.D candidate. She was one of few people to be admitted without a college degree and earned her Ph.D. in ethology (animal behaviour) in 1965. 
  • In 1965 Goodall established the Gombe Stream Research Centre in Gombe and in 1977 she established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), which continues the Gombe research an is a leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees. 
  • Goodall paved the path for other women primatologists. Gilbert Grosvenor, the chairman of the National Geographic Society wrote that “women now dominate long-term primate behavioural studies worldwide.”
  • In 2002 Goodall was appointed to serve as a United Nations Messenger of Peace by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
  • In 2004 she was made a Dame of the British Empire during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. 
  • Jane Goodall has written numerous articles, books and children’s stories and has appeared in many documentaries.
  • Today Jane continues working by speaking to all types of audiences as well as high-level conferences about the threats facing chimpanzees.

Photos of a young Jane Goodall:

There are some beautiful photos here of a young Jane Goodall, including one of her with her first chimpanzee soft toy. 

Words by Jane Goodall:

  • “I wanted to talk to the animals like Dr. Doolittle.”
  • “The most important thing I can say to you – yes, you who are now reading this – is that you, as an individual, have a role to play and can make a difference. You get to choose: do you want to use your life to try to make the world a better place for humans and animals and the environment? Or not?”
  • “We have so far to go to realize our human potential for compassion, altruism, and love.”
  • “Lasting change is a series of compromises. And compromise is all right, as long as your values don’t change.” 
  • “The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
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4 thoughts on “Profile on: Jane Goodall, anthropologist & UN Messenger of Peace

  1. Esther says:

    “In 1962 Goodall entered Cambridge University as a Ph.D candidate. She was one of few people to be admitted without a college degree” – I had no idea; that’s so cool! Great post Solange.

  2. Solange says:

    Thanks Esther! I really admire this woman…she’s awesome.

  3. Xpackers says:

    que bueno blog che!! i like your style, keep em coming….everyone loves inspirational people…look forward to your next oned

  4. Solange says:

    Thank you! 🙂

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