Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees
Jane Goodall's Story

To a little girl growing up in war-battered England in the 1940s, the stories of Tarzan and Dr. Dolittle, who lived in the jungles of Africa with their wild companions, were enchanting and inspiring. That girl was Jane Goodall, and while she grew up determined to share a forest home with African animals, she may not have expected that doing so would lead her to fame as a naturalist, one who changed forever the way we see the chimpanzee, our closest primate relative.

Her revolutionary discoveries about chimpanzees are memorably documented in the NATURE program JANE GOODALL’S WILD CHIMPANZEES. The program gives viewers a rare look into the chimpanzee’s world by chronicling the tense struggle between two brothers, Freud and Frodo, for leadership of their troop. It also captures some of the chimp behaviors, from tender hugs to ruthless killing, that intrigue the scientists who investigate the origins of our own habits.

The idea that we have much in common with chimps, including more than 98 percent of our genetic code, is now widely accepted. But chimp life was still a mystery in 1957, when, on a trip she had saved for years to make, a 23-year old Goodall arrived in Kenya to visit a high school friend. Once there, in an effort to realize her dream of studying wild animals, she contacted Louis Leakey, a prominent anthropologist working at a Kenyan museum who would later become famous for his discoveries of early human remains at the Olduvai Gorge. She soon won a job assisting Leakey with his studies, doing everything from documenting monkey behavior to hunting for fossils. Leakey eventually encouraged Goodall to study chimpanzees, animals that he believed could provide us a window into our own beginnings.

Many scientists were skeptical, even scandalized, by Leakey’s suggestion that a young woman who had never gone to college could succeed as a lone field researcher in the chimpanzees’ rugged mountain home. Nevertheless, in 1960, Goodall began her research at Gombe Stream National Park in the East African nation of Tanzania.

At first, as Goodall recalls in the NATURE program, it appeared that the primates’ behavior would remain forever mysterious. Within a few years, however, she became intimately familiar with their lives, spending her days trailing them through the forest and recording their habits. Some of her techniques were unorthodox and controversial: for instance, rather than assigning her chimps numbers, she gave them names like “Fifi” and “Passion.” She also set up at Gombe a banana-laden feeding station designed to lure the apes out into the open, where they could be more easily observed. She now regrets this practice, which somewhat altered the chimps’ behavior, but researchers have nevertheless found that Gombe’s chimps get less than two percent of their food at the station, spending the bulk of their time foraging in the forests.

Soon after becoming accepted by a local troop, Goodall realized that what she was observing challenged virtually every conventional notion about chimpanzees. Where many researchers saw “primitive” apes living a simple existence, Goodall found highly intelligent, emotional creatures living in complex social groups. Most dramatically, her work shattered two long-standing myths: the idea that only humans could make and use tools, and the belief that chimps were passive vegetarians.

Goodall’s discoveries were brought to the public’s attention by a 1965 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC television documentary, which vaulted her to international prominence and quieted her doubters. That same year, England’s Cambridge University awarded Goodall an honorary doctorate; she is one of only a handful of people to earn that distinction without having first completed four years of college.

Goodall lived at Gombe almost full-time until 1975, accumulating a wealth of long-term data still valued by today’s researchers. Since then, she has founded Jane Goodall Institutes in nine countries, including Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These days, she continues her studies from afar, focusing her attention on a passionate campaign for chimpanzee conservation and research and speaking against the nonessential use of chimps in medical research. She travels the world giving speeches (often punctuated by her haunting renditions of chimp calls) and raising funds for the half-dozen chimpanzee refuges she has established in Africa.

Compassion and concern for the species has swelled in recent years, partially due to Goodall’s proof of the similarities between chimps and humans. At the same time, however, there is a mounting interest in using them for medical research — an unfortunate one, in Goodall’s view. “Some scientists believe chimpanzees can be useful in finding out more about human diseases and searching for cures because they can be infected with otherwise uniquely human viruses,” she regrets. But, she cautions, “it isn’t only human beings who have personality, who are capable of rational thought [and] emotions like joy and sorrow.” Coming to grips with this, she hopes, will help resolve “many ethical problems [regarding how] we use and abuse animals.”

  • Misty

    Anyone know the citation for this section of PBS? Please help me!!!

  • Kayah

    That’s so nice at least somepeople in this world have nice hearts to care about the animals.

  • Olivia

    The citation? Do you mean the URL?

  • destiny

    i am doing a biography of her right now for school she IS REALLY cool read about her i hope you find her cool just like me

  • Sylvia

    wow this is great how about u get a citation on here! its illegal not to have one

  • Renata

    Hello all,
    years ago i watched a very interesting documentary abou a woman who befrended a tiger, or a lion, it was so long since i watched a can clearley remember.Does anyone know that story and can remind me the name of the woman.
    Thanx in advance.

  • Shizuma

    That sounds interesting, Never watched it though. Lucky you for having seen it. ^^ Very lucky. haha

  • mollie

    wow!!! so nice i love animals too. so that is very heart warming to me.:)

  • janey


  • Tuenesha

    Yeah what would the citation be? by citation we mean work cited source. like does anyone know how to correctly right a work cited note on the website?

  • hannah

    i am studying her in school for a biography at carrboro she’s awesome wish me luck on my paper!!!!!

  • layzboy

    I love u…..and han yong

  • layzboy

    im just kidding about the hany yong thing listed above……….. it was his idea……

  • sebastion

    you are so loving i want to be juct like you when i grow up i dont care what people say any more i love animals i have 6 birds 4 cats 9 dogs 10 bunnys 2hamsters 3 snakes and i am geting 7 hurmet crabs i LOVE ANIMALS i love there personalty

  • Renee

    Awwz..u people are so caring and sebastion!! u have to many anilmals…..

  • Mary

    on April 9 2009 i am going to go see jane goodall in person!

  • hillary

    she sound like. she love animal and study about them

  • margaret

    hi I think you are so cool you meet my uncle pete his name was pete rachel he works at wild life interors he had passed away but you got your pitcher with you.

  • sabrina

    i like how you are so nice to all thigs i like that.

  • jessee

    you are great with the chimpanzees that is nice

  • rick you rock

    i thank you are so cool and nice bye!

  • cindy

    this informaton is actually intresting!!!!! : D

  • madison

    i am doing a paper on science but i do it all by my self wish me luck



  • animalgirl12

    I’m doing my IDRP paper on you! I’m very excited, because I LOVE animals too! :D Maybe NHD, not sure.

  • xenon

    thank u so much…….. now my paper is complete!!!!!!! thanks a lot!!!

  • brian

    Dude! Jane Goodall was pretty hot when she was young!

  • donna che

    My class was reading about you and I want to now how you can do all of that and most people can’t do it?

  • Anna

    I’m soo happy that some people in this world actually care. It makes me feel soooo relieved that all of us can live in a worl with someone like Jane Goodall in it.. :)

  • hannah

    dear Jane,
    i would really LOVE to meet you…i love chimps just like you. You have inspired me to study chimps and learn to react with chimps just like you did.

    your BIGGEST fan,
    Hannah PS. if you would,write me back soon at my email,id love to become friends
    with you!!

  • johnny zed

    I am stunned by the diefication of Goodall. She is not a goddess! In fact she managed to destroy the Gombe chimpanzees natural instincts. How you ask? For the first while at Gombe the chimps would ot go near her (good injstincts) so what did she do? Upon realizing bananas would get the chimps attention she set up a feeding station. It worked the chimps were coming to feed and they became dependant on her for food abandoning thier natural foraging and in turn not teaching the babies how to forage, in one generation she wiped out a natural instinct. To urther compound her error she began to touch the infants then she was grooming the chimps etc. She named the animals giving each of them human attributes they did not nor do possess. All of her observations were by this time corrupt the data tainted by the chimps who were dependant on goodall for food comfort medicine etc. Anthromorphizing these animals was the next huge blunder. Yes these animals do share 98% of our d.n.a. but if you would ask any genetic scientist they would tell you that 2% missing is a world of difference, so I fail to see any validity in that propoganda. Her methods are questioned by the real scientists who have basically stated her methods were and are competely wrong so her data is tainted. If anyone wanted a complete picture of the chimps they could have asked the pygmies in the deep bush. They would have told us the chimps do hunt and eat meat, and yes they used tools as well as the other facts about chimps. I am pooping on your altar of worship but you have good minds as evidenced by your posts, do your research on this woman. After you do your research think about why you diefy her. All I can say is that Jane Goodall was wrong in her methods and what she did (and this is still used today) was turn dangerous animals into dangerous pets. Read about how he “pet” Frodo attacked a woman and took the womans baby and took of he killed and partially ate the baby. Nothing was done about it why?Becuase it was one of Goodalls chimps. Goodall justified this atttack by saying “he was threatened he acted instinctually” Some answer huh? I wonder how the woman/mother felt about that? by the way there are primatologists who do work with chimps in the wild but they do not follow her methods at all.

  • alice

    this the way that lif eworks

  • chimplover

    i love Jane Goodall! i also love chimpanzees! i think it’s awesome that so many people care about animals! even young people can! i know that because i’m 10! but almost 11!

  • shanice brown

    rip jane goodall is amazing

  • addy

    that is realy good

  • decontee

    i think that Jane goodall is cool !!

  • jerry lertner

    Jane Goodall is no primatologists nor is she a real scientist of any kind. Her degree from Cambridge id HONORARY not the real thing folks. Goodall has twisted her data to suit her erroneous anthromophorization of these animals. It has been proven that apes do not possess any human attributes except those that are wrongly given to them by deluded people like Goodall. How is it that none of her detractors are heard? Because most people have blindly bought into her asserions because they will not do their own research? Goodall is wrong.

  • Jim

    I love video games especially red dead redemption

  • JOhn

    i don’t like chimps, they should all burn

  • tim pl

    chimps are a waist of this earth i am going to kill all of them

  • CARL


  • Carl the fatty

    I am very fat and i think im tuff, chimpanzes make me very horney

  • stephanie la pretty

    I think that this story is very good

  • lola

    I like this story

  • lola

    I really think that Jane Goodall did a very good thing
    following her dream because not a lot of people do.

  • Dani Leigh

    this is phenomenal, her methods were correct and anyone doubting her is a fool. this is a very fine example of what WE, as the next generations need to be taking steps to do, not only helping and saving our wildlife, but saving what we love. chimps fascinated jane, so she helped! she’s a hero to us, and a lifesaver to them. take this as an inspiration to help, it is truly extraordinary.

  • lola


  • Erin

    If there weren’t chimps I am not completely sure but we are related to them! We are so close to them how could a person even think of wanting to murder Chimpanzees!

  • http://www.facebook.com/FashionMerchandising Desmond

    Can one lately point out exactly what a reduction to seek out individual who actually understands precisely what theyre talking about on the internet. You certainly recognize how to deliver a new fret to be able to light along with figure out the idea crucial. Work out. ought to see this and also know this kind of facet of one’s story. My spouse and i find it difficult to think youre you can forget well-known because you also definitely acquire the reward.

  • shealynn

    the only reason i looked this up is so i can finish a report for 7th grade . but i think wat jane goodall is doing is good because now what she is learning , she is sharing with us children in school for us to learn :) #shea sierra jessie

  • Watch Online

    It’s a pleasure. Thanks for your comment. Scott

  • Kate

    Hello! does anyone know what she studied in school? i need this for a research project…..asap

  • Annabannana

    What grade are you in? If you tell me I will give you the info.


  • Anna Banana

    hey Annabannana!! u stole my name!!!!

    thx 4 the info really helps!!

  • Dumbo Brain

    First, Jane Goodall is not dead, Shanice. Second, Mr. Lertner sounds like a jealous fool.

  • Random face ;b

    So did anyone help her get the money to do all this or was it all her own money??

  • Mathilde

    what a great story!!! I love Jane Goodall!!!!!!!!!!!!!! only, I would like to know when did she get her baby

  • abbie

    wow that was cool that gave me the idea to do my school report on her!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ashley

    I am doing a book report on jane goodall and I got some good informashion thankyou

  • Bo lee

    Thank you for providing all this excellent information. This story is really helping me out on my research on primates. Thanks a lot !!!
    - Bomani o. Lee,Whitehorse middle school

  • oliviaaa

    um. Jane Goodall is still alive guys. She is around 75 years old I think…

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