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Jane Goodall Fast Facts

Here’s a look at the life of world-renowned primatologist, activist and conservationist Jane Goodall.


Birth date: April 3, 1934

Birth place: London, England

Birth name: Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall

Father: Mortimer Morris-Goodall, businessman

Mother: Margaret Myfanwe (Joseph) Morris-Goodall, a novelist

Marriages: Derek Bryceson (1975-1980, his death); Hugo van Lawick (March 28, 1964-1974, divorced)

Children: with van Lawick: Hugo

Education: Cambridge University, Ph.D. in ethology, 1965

Other Facts

Obtained a doctorate without receiving a bachelor’s or master’s first.

Was the first scientist to give names to her research subjects instead of the conventional practice of assigning them numbers.

Found that chimpanzees engage in warfare with neighboring communities and that chimps are capable of altruism, which they display by adopting unrelated orphaned infants.

First to observe chimps eating meat and making and using tools.


1956 – While working as an assistant in a London film studio, she receives an invitation from a friend to visit her farm in Kenya.

1957Arrives in Africa and meets famous archeologist and paleontologist Louis Leakey. He hires her as an assistant and then asks her to study a group of chimpanzees living in Tanzania.

July 1960 – Arrives at the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in Tanzania to begin her study of chimpanzees.

October 1960 – Goodall observes chimpanzees eating meat; they were thought to be vegetarians.

November 1960 – Observes the first recorded instance of chimpanzees making and using tools.

1977 – Founds the Jane Goodall Institute.

1991 – Begins the Roots & Shoots environmental program for young people.

2002 – Designated a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

February 20, 2004Is invested as a Dame of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace.

2010 – A documentary film about her life, “Jane’s Journey,” opens.

March 2013 – Apologizes for plagiarized passages in her book, “Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants,” scheduled to be released in April. The Washington Post first reported on the borrowed passages, saying they came from Wikipedia and other websites.

September 30, 2014 – A new species of orchid is named after Goodall. The Dendrobium goodallianum orchid was collected in Papua New Guinea in 2003.

October 20, 2017 – “Jane,” a documentary about Goodall’s early work with chimps, directed by Brett Morgan, opens.

January 2019 – Announces launch of the Jane Goodall Legacy Foundation, “in the hope that we can create an endowment that will enable the programmes I have developed to continue, new ones to be initiated, and so that the fight for the good of the natural world will continue beyond my lifetime.” It is registered in Switzerland.

April 17, 2019 – Is named to the Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the most influential people in the world.

May 8, 2020 – In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Goodall says that humanity’s disrespect for nature led to the coronavirus pandemic, saying “we brought this on ourselves.”

Article Topic Follows: National-World

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