Who is Jane Goodall?


Quick Answer

The English primatologist, anthropologist and researcher Dr. Jane Goodall is known for the many significant contributions she made to the study of primates through her extensive fieldwork with chimpanzees in the country now known as Tanzania. Her work changed perceptions of how primates were perceived by the academic and scientific communities. Goodall was the first to observe and document chimpanzees making and using a basic tool, displaying emotions and living in a social group with a well-defined hierarchical structure.

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Full Answer

The techniques developed by Goodall and her discoveries in the African rainforest during the 1960s and 1970s have informed the work of the researchers who followed. Her findings altered previous conceptions of primate behavior and provided evidence for surprising similarities between chimpanzee and human group interactions. Goodall's discoveries challenged the preexisting beliefs that chimpanzees did not eat meat and that only man was capable of being a toolmaker.

Goodall is also known for her philanthropic work in the areas of conservation, humanitarianism and animal welfare. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors and was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace and a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Goodall has authored more than a dozen books since 1969, and as of 2014, she currently devotes the majority of her time to advocacy work on behalf of the environment and wildlife.

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