Jane Goodall remains in her prime

Video highlights from Jane

This week we celebrate International Women's Day and how can we not mention one of the world’s leading primatologists and anthropologists, Jane Goodall, famous for her work with chimpanzees – which has spanned more than half a century.

“Drawing from 100 hours of never-before-seen footage from the National Geographic archives watch ‘JANE” documentary, now streaming in the Watch section.”Today we celebrate the 85th birthday of one of the world’s leading primatologists and anthropologists, Jane Goodall, famous for her work with chimpanzees – which has spanned more than half a century.

Dame Jane Morris Goodall is best known her study of social interactions of chimpanzees in the wild after first travelling Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in 1960.

Gombe, Tanzania - Young Chimpanzee Flint.
Photo Credit: Jane Goodall Institute/Hugo van Lawick

Dr Goodall – who will be speaking in Australia next month – made a series of astonishing findings about chimps, with whom is it said we share around 99 per cent of our DNA.

Her findings were that similarities between humans and chimpanzees go deeper than our shared DNA, and exist in emotion and cognition as well as in many of our social interactions.

She came to these conclusions after watching chimps embrace, kiss each other and even tickle and pat each other on the back.

Dr Goodall says these behaviours constitute proof of the "close, supportive, affectionate bonds that develop between family members and other individuals within a community, which can persist throughout a life span of more than 50 years".

Goodall’s study also defied the longstanding idea that only humans could use tools, by watching chimpanzees attacking termite mound with sticks they sharpened to make them more effective.

The natural, instinctive bond that exists between humans and chimpanzees allowed Dr Goodall to develop meaningful, individual relationships with the resident primates of Gombe.

Conservation icon Dr Jane Goodall.
Photo Credit: National Geographic/Stewart Voll

Her connection with the animals served as inspiration for what would become a lifetime of work dedicated to combating deforestation, illegal trade and unethical mining operations that have devastated chimpanzee populations across Africa.

Dr Goodall’s quest for animal welfare and conservation is as relevant now as it ever has been. With the shifts in our global climate displacing not only chimpanzees but thousands of other species (including humans), her message of compassion and environmental responsibility is incredibly pertinent for 2019 and beyond.

Far from being bogged down by the seemingly endless flow of bad-news stories, Dr Goodall’s focus is on our capacity to make a difference.

Her belief in the power of inspired youth and activism has never faltered over her career.

Dr Goodall’s Rewind the Future series of Australian talks are about her perspectives on current environmental issues, what the future looks like for the inhabitants of our shared planet and what we can do to change the course of history.

 

“Drawing from 100 hours of never-before-seen footage from the National Geographic archives watch ‘JANE” documentary.

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