Born in 1934, British primate researcher Jane Goodall has become world famous because her work among chimpanzees in Africa has revolutionized the field of primatology.
Jane Goodall's Contributions
Jane Goodall devoted her life to living among the chimps, studying them in their natural environment. As such, Jane learned a great deal about chimps and her contribution to the field of science is invaluable.
Some of her most notable scientific contributions include the discoveries that:
- Chimpanzees utilize tools. This is perhaps Jane Goodall’s most famous discovery, as it was previously thought that only humans successfully forged and used tools. She observed chimps as they searched for the right twigs, removed all leaves from those twigs, and then proceeded to use saliva and the twig to pull termites from holes. This use of a tool opened extraordinary doors for further research, and has led to the findings of tool-usage among other species as well.
- Chimpanzees have close, and often complex relationships with other chimps and among groups of chimps. These relationships are often marked by the sharing of food and specific grooming rituals.
- Chimp mothers have strong relationships to their children, and that siblings have similarly close familial bonds. Family relationships are also marked by grooming and sharing food.
- Chimps hunt small game and that they wage organized war against rivals.
- The destruction of chimpanzees’ habitats, as well as poaching, stands to seriously threaten chimp populations. Jane Goodall has worked tirelessly on conservation efforts as a result.
All of these contributions by Jane Goodall have helped people to understand not just the relationships of chimps with each other, but also the close connections between chimps and humans.