Jane Goodall

by Sitara Sidiqi from San Diego, California in United States

132541Jane Goodall with a stuffed chimpanzeeBy Jeekc - Self-published work by Jeekc, CC BY 2.5,“What makes us human, I think, is an ability to ask questions, a consequence of our sophisticated spoken language” (Jane Goodall). Jane Goodall, an anthropologist from England was just a curious little girl who was interested in chimpanzees since her mother gave her first stuffed chimpanzee. Jane grew up in Bournemouth, England, and she was interested in reading and studying about chimpanzees. She encourages many people to help out animals, so they can appreciate chimps as much as Jane did. Goodall was encouraged by Dr. Louis S.B. Leaky, a famous anthropologist and paleontologist. Louis noticed what a passion Jane had for chimpanzees, so he started funding a foundation for chimpanzees. She then had enough money to go to Africa to study more about chimps. Once they had enough money, Goodall (26 years old) went to South Africa to study more about chimpanzees. In the summer of 1960, Jane arrived on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Tanganyika (later to become Tanzania), East Africa. The British government (which controlled Tanganyika) insisted that Jane have a companion. It was unheard for a woman to venture into the African forests alone. So Jane’s mother, Vanne, shared the adventure for a couple of months. At first, the Gombe chimpanzees weren’t fond of Jane, but after a while, they became more fond of her.  There were many observations that Goodall published. For example, one time she noticed that Chimpanzees used tools to find food and other times she observed that they were almost all vegetarians. These big discoveries were noticed by the respectable media. National Geographic sponsored her work and sent a crew to video Goodall’s life in the jungle. The lead cameraman that came in to document Goodall’s life was Hugo Van Lawick. This institution allowed other students to join the center and assist with the chimpanzee observations. The research center now had more students and more observations that were being conducted and this allowed her to spend more time with her family. Jane Goodall who loved to study chimpanzees in the open since she got her first stuffed chimp from her mom made her selfless, curious, brave, and calm to spend time with these animals, which made her a true hero by saving chimpanzees in the jungle.

Jane Goodall spent over 50 years in the jungle and is well known as a conservationist and a champion of human rights. Goodalls years of perseverance has proven that she was selfless enough to put herself to the test for these amazing creatures, so she spent years in Tanzania studying these animals from close and afar. “When Jane began studying chimpanzees in 1960 she had no formal training or education. This may have actually helped her as she had her own unique way of observing and recording the chimp's actions and behaviors. Jane spent the next forty years of her life studying chimpanzees. She discovered many new and interesting things about the animals” (Ducksters Educational Site). While studying chimpanzees, Jane spent most of her life in the jungle, not just for researching, but to also to have fun. Jane’s parents had encouraged her so much when her mother gave her a stuffed chimpanzee, which she still possesses to this day. Jane Goodall was a good student in school, but instead of indoors, she focused more on outdoors with animals. Jane had shown many acts that had proven that she was selfless to everyone. She helped scientists learn many more things about chimpanzees that they had misunderstood about them. “Through her research, Jane Goodall was able to correct a number of misunderstandings about chimpanzees. She found, for example, that animals are omnivorous, not vegetarian; that they are capable of making and using tools; and that they have complex and highly developed social behaviors” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019).  Jane has proven that there were many more things about chimpanzees than scientists knew. Jane Goodall had discovered the behavior of chimpanzees. She had discovered that some chimpanzees alter pieces of grass or twigs and then poke them into termite mounds. She completely transformed our understanding of our closest relative in the animal kingdom. She risked her life to enter into the jungle to research about these animals. Jane’s can be selfless for staying in the jungle no matter what. Jane’s heroic act to help these animals was one of the things that made her selfless, and brave, but also staying in Tanzania with these animals and studying with them made her love these animals even more. The love she had for chimpanzees kept her interested in researching and publishing books about them, which helped her know more about them.

132542Jane Goodall's TED talk about how humans and animals can live togetherBy Erik (HASH) Hersman from Orlando - File:Jane Goodall at TEDGlobal 2007.jpg, CC BY 2.0, Goodall has a lot of patience by sitting down in the jungle, and observing these animals while taking notes each and every day for over 50 years.  Jane’s patience and dedication for chimpanzees had led her to many places in Tanzania with chimps while having the ability to sit and watch them, and not making a sound, and cooperating with them every day. “Goodall has dedicated her life to the study of chimpanzees, and now spends less time in the field and more time on the lecture circuit” (Modern Language Assoc.). Jane spends more time with chimpanzees than her home. She wanted to see how chimpanzees lived, so she lived with the chimpanzees to see how they live their lives. Jane wanted people to understand chimpanzees more, so they can understand them as well. It can be very hard to stand still in the jungle and watching these animals for hours and hours every day, but Jane kept her patience and stood there the whole way. Her patience paid off very well once she got used to the chimpanzee. “Initially, the chimpanzees were wary of her presence and would scatter whenever she got too close. She spent her first three months at Gombe allowing the chimpanzees to become accustomed to her, and often watched them through binoculars from a distance. Over time, she gave many of them names: David Greybeard, Passion, Fifi, Flo, and Goliath” (Modern Language Assoc.). This allowed Jane to carefully study them while keeping a distance from them as well and she also had a lot of respect to the chimpanzees while she was studying them. Jane’s heroic act on saving the chimpanzees while acting so calm can be hard to do when you are with chimpanzees every day, you tend to get excited, but Jane knew her limits and stayed on that boundary line.

Jane Goodall is my hero because she spent more than 50 years of her life studying chimpanzees. Jane Goodall made the most important scientific observation of modern times when she saw a hungry chimpanzee bending the twig, and sticking it into a hole into the ground. Then it used the bent twig to scoop termites out of the ground. Not only did chimpanzees used tool, but our nearest evolutionary cousins embrace, hugged, and kissed each other. Jane Goodall's discovery proved to the scientific community that using tools to find food and having social interactions were not only human traits.  My hero also provided many more chimpanzee behaviors that were once thought to belong to humans and that were observed in the study of these wild chimpanzees. Human greed is destroying animal inhabitants and depleting the planet's resources will drive these animals to extinction. Goodall is still traveling around the world and educating humans on sharing the planet's resources with the animals. “At the end of the day, I still think we can do it,” she says. “Everywhere I go there are young people with shining eyes wanting to tell Dr. Jane what they are doing to make the world better.. You have to be hopeful” (Jane Goodall).

Work Cited

“Biographies for Kids.” Ducksters Educational Site,

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Jane Goodall | Biography & Facts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2019].

Lovelady, Cambria. “Jane Goodall.” Jane Goodall (9781429813563), Jan. 2005, p. 1. EBSCOhost,

“Jane Goodall: 50 Years Working with Chimps | Discover Interview.” Google, Google,

Page created on 4/8/2019 7:23:11 PM

Last edited 4/15/2019 5:10:41 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

The Jane Goodall Institute - This is Jane Goodall's home page about protecting chimpanzees and inspiring everyone.
Jane Goodall Biography - This page can tell you about Jane's life story.
Jane Goodall Characteristics - This can tell you what characteristics Jane has with a description of it.