Today, Jane Goodall is one of the most famous paleontologists in the world. Goodall, 88, was born in Britain in 1934, an inauspicious time for a budding female scientist. Back then, female role models in the field were non-existent. Thankfully, her father, and later Louis Leakey, a famous Kenyan paleontologist, filled that gap.

When she was a child, Jane’s father gave her a stuffed toy chimpanzee named Jubilee as an alternative to a teddy bear. “Goodall has said her fondness for it sparked her early love of animals, commenting, ‘My mother's friends were horrified by this toy, thinking it would frighten me and give me nightmares.’ Jubilee still sits on Goodall's dresser in London.”

She could not afford to go to college after finishing high school. Instead, she went to secretarial school where she became proficient in skills that later benefited her greatly. But she never gave up on her dream of going to Africa to live among and learn from wild animals. She took odd jobs, saved “every penny" and at 23 was able to realize her dream. She went to Africa to visit a friend, who lived on a farm outside Nairobi, Kenya.

Her friend encouraged her to contact Leakey. Luckily, Jane’s background in secretarial work met Leakey’s needs at the time. He had come to believe that he could best understand how our ancient ancestors lived by learning more about “our closest great ape relatives.” To that end, he was looking for a chimpanzee researcher. Jane had no background in primatology, but her other virtues, her “attention to detail, patience and extensive knowledge of wildlife” impressed him. In his own words, he was looking for “a fresh pair of eyes and a fiery spirit — someone who could observe things that those in the existing scientific community would not be able to. Despite having no formal degree, Jane was hired by Leakey to study chimpanzees in the wild.”

For the next several years, Leakey continued to mentor Jane, providing her with opportunities to study primate behavior and anatomy. He also raised funds that enabled her to travel to Gombe Stream National Park in 1960.

In 1962, Leakey arranged funding to send Goodall, who had no degree, to the University of Cambridge. “She was the eighth person to be allowed to study for a Ph.D. at Cambridge without first having obtained a bachelor's degree.” She went to Newnham College, Cambridge, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in natural sciences by 1964, which is when she went up to the new Darwin College, Cambridge, for a Doctor of Philosophy in ethology.

“In 1973, she was appointed to her longtime position of honorary visiting professor of zoology at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. In 2006, the Open University of Tanzania awarded her an honorary Doctor of Science degree.”

She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Roots & Shoots program, and she has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues. As of 2022, she is on the board of the Nonhuman Rights Project. In April 2002, she was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Goodall is an honorary member of the World Future Council.

“When I got to Gombe, it was beautiful, my dream had come true,” she said. “But for four months the chimps ran away from me...so although the forest was wonderful, I couldn’t enjoy it until this David Greybeard lost his fear and helped the others to lose their fear too.”

26-year-old Jane Goodall, acting as Leakey’s mentee, traveled to Tanzania in 1960 to find the chimpanzees she would research. Leakey made this possible by helping her get a grant from the Wilke Foundation. That same year, she “first reported chimpanzees using thin blades of grass to fish out ants between holes in the trunks of trees and dirt on the ground. Suddenly, what had been deemed a defining trait of humans — tool use and creation — was challenged. Leakey, who often faced naysayers, famously said in response, “Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees as humans.”

Goodall is considered “the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, after 60 years' studying the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees.

During the years she studied at Gombe Stream National Park, “she made three observations that challenged conventional scientific ideas: (1) chimps are omnivores, not herbivores and even hunt for meat; (2) chimps use tools; and (3) chimps make their tools (a trait previously used to define humans).

Jane first witnessed David Greybeard using tools. She spotted the chimpanzee sticking blades of stiff grass into termite holes to extract termites

Before Jane undertook her work at Gombe, “Chimpanzees had been thought to be violent, aggressive animals with crude social arrangements. Researchers had given chimps numbers rather than names and had ignored the differences in personality, intelligence, and social skills that Goodall's studies revealed. Chimpanzees, Goodall showed, organized themselves in groups that had complex social structures. They were often loving and careful parents and also formed attachments to their peers. They hunted and ate meat. And they used simple tools — twigs or grasses that they stripped of leaves and used to get termites out of termite mounds. This discovery helped force scientists to give up their definition of human beings as the only animals that use tools.”

Goodall noted that women were not accepted in the field when she started her research in the late 1950s. Today, the field of primatology is made up almost evenly of men and women, in part thanks to the trailblazing of Goodall and her encouragement of young women to join the field.

“My entire career, I’ve wanted to help inspire kids to be curious and explore the world around them — just like I did...” she said. She continues to teach young scientists that they must treat animals more compassionately. "By and large," she has written, "students are taught that it is ethically acceptable to perpetrate, in the name of science, what, from the point of view of animals, would certainly qualify as torture."

Throughout her career, Jane has been focused on teaching children about animals and about protecting their environment. As an example, she broke with the tradition of assigning her chimps numbers. Instead she humanized them by giving them names like David Greybeard, Freud, Frodo, and Passion.

The Goodall Barbie Doll, produced in 2022, pays tribute to her as one of the “incredible heroines of their time.” Her doll joins such famous others as Eleanor Roosevelt, Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, and Amelia Earhart. The 88-year-old Goodall said she was “thrilled” to partner with Barbie. The Mattel company released the Barbie on July 14, 2022, World Chimpanzee Day. The day also marked the 62nd anniversary of Goodall’s arrival at Gombe.

In a political season where women’s rights seem constantly under attack, it is good to remember that many men have mentored women as Leakey did with Goodall, and continue to do so. The way forward for women in science is far from bleak.

For far too long, women stood outside the doors of science and some men today want to see them return to that position.

But standing in the way is one of the most brilliant paleontologists in history. Not only because of her abilities, which are legion, but also because a man took a chance to help her get there, the names of Jane Goodall and Louis Leaky are linked in the annals of science.

Talk about a win-win situation.

Many singles, having been married, are enjoying the freedom of being single. Others make different choices. According to Boston University sociologist Deborah Carr, changing social attitudes are part of the picture. “Cohabitation was once stigmatized as ‘living in sin’ or lesser than marriage. Even if some still disapprove, many older adults don’t care.

An often heard sentiment is: I'm 75 years old now, and I’ll do what I damn please!

References

https://www.notablebiographies.com/Gi-He/Goodall-Jane.html

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Jane Goodall Still Leads the Way

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17.06.2024

Today, Jane Goodall is one of the most famous paleontologists in the world. Goodall, 88, was born in Britain in 1934, an inauspicious time for a budding female scientist. Back then, female role models in the field were non-existent. Thankfully, her father, and later Louis Leakey, a famous Kenyan paleontologist, filled that gap.

When she was a child, Jane’s father gave her a stuffed toy chimpanzee named Jubilee as an alternative to a teddy bear. “Goodall has said her fondness for it sparked her early love of animals, commenting, ‘My mother's friends were horrified by this toy, thinking it would frighten me and give me nightmares.’ Jubilee still sits on Goodall's dresser in London.”

She could not afford to go to college after finishing high school. Instead, she went to secretarial school where she became proficient in skills that later benefited her greatly. But she never gave up on her dream of going to Africa to live among and learn from wild animals. She took odd jobs, saved “every penny" and at 23 was able to realize her dream. She went to Africa to visit a friend, who lived on a farm outside Nairobi, Kenya.

Her friend encouraged her to contact Leakey. Luckily, Jane’s background in secretarial work met Leakey’s needs at the time. He had come to believe that he could best understand how our ancient ancestors lived by learning more about “our closest great ape relatives.” To that end, he was looking for a chimpanzee researcher. Jane had no background in primatology, but her other virtues, her “attention to detail, patience and extensive knowledge of wildlife” impressed him. In his own words, he was looking for “a fresh pair of eyes and a fiery spirit — someone who could observe things that those in the existing scientific community would not be able to. Despite having no formal degree, Jane was hired by Leakey to study chimpanzees in the wild.”

For the next several years, Leakey continued to mentor Jane, providing her with opportunities to study primate behavior and........

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