The story of Jane Goodall has been told many times. In 1965, she was a young scientist. She wanted to study chimpanzees. She had never done that before. She went to Africa and made up her own way to do it. This is her story.

Freud touches Goodall’s hair. Today’s researchers would observe animals from a distance and not get this close!

Growing Up

Jane Goodall grew up in England. She liked animals. She dreamed of living in Africa. As a young woman, she saved some money and went to Africa.

There, she met a famous scientist. His name was Louis Leakey. He studied the history of humans. He also studied great apes, like chimpanzees. He hired Goodall as his secretary. He thought she could become a scientist. Later, he helped her study chimps in a country called Tanzania.

Goodall set up camp in the Gombe Stream Reserve. She had enough money to do six months of fieldwork. While there, she made her own rules. Most scientists who studied animals gave them numbers. Goodall gave the animals she studied names. Then she recorded her observations.

New Ideas

Goodall made three discoveries. Each was new to science. In her first discovery, she saw a chimp eating a dead animal. Until then, scientists thought that apes didn’t
eat meat.

Next, she saw the same chimp with a blade of grass. He poked it into a termite mound. He pulled it out. It was covered with termites for him to eat. He had used the grass as a tool.

Finally, she saw him pick up a twig and take off the leaves. He used it to catch more termites. He had made a tool. Scientists thought that toolmaking and tool use were things only humans could do. Goodall knew this was big news.

A chimpanzee digs for termites with a blade of grass.

Flint takes a peek at Goodall from the top of her tent.