Friday, July 16, 2010

Uppity Women #14

Dr. Jane Goodall
(attribution unknown)

"What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." 

Jane Goodall is the world's leading authority on chimpanzees and one of only nine people ever to receive a PhD without first receiving a Bachelor's degree from Cambridge University. In 1957, at the age of 23, Goodall went to visit a friend in Tanzania, got a job as a secretary, met Louis Leaky and professed her interest in studying chimpanzees. After studying primate anatomy and  behavior in London, she returned to Gombe, Tanzania in 1960, only to be refused the right to study her subjects. The Chief Warden at Gombe pulled her permit to study chimpanzees in the reserve out of fear for her safety. She persevered and the permit was reinstated. 

A passionate humanitarian, environmentalist, ethologist, anthropologist and a UN Messenger of Peace, Goodall has received countless awards for her work and is the author of many books. Her well-known work has been controversial because she named the chimpanzee subjects she studied and may have affected their behavior by altering their foraging habits, offering them food. She has also said that primates kept in specialized primate enclosures may be better off than those in the wild in areas where they are snared and either sold or eaten, a statement that led to her resignation from Advocates for Animals which opposes zoos.

Whether one agrees entirely with her methods for data collection or not, without question she is one of the single most important researchers to affect the public's perception of animals, and our environment, in the past century.

Jane Goodall with a few friends
(attribution unknown)

© Bright Nepenthe, 2010

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