In 1960, when she was 26 years old, Goodall traveled from England to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania to learn about wild chimpanzees, human’s closest living relatives. Rather than observing the animals from afar, Goodall immersed herself in their world. This led her to making several groundbreaking discoveries, including the fact that, like humans, chimpanzees make and use tools, fashioning and using sticks to “fish” for termites. Until then, it was assumed that tool use was what separated humans from every other animal.
It is by far one of the most iconic photos from the last 50 years. Taken in the 1960's at the start of Dr. Goodall's revolutionary career, this photo left the scientific world in question about what it means to be human. It was used in Apple's think different campaign from the late 1990's, helping to rebuild their brand, and has been shared millions, if not billions of times since it's creation more than 50 years ago. Now you have an opportunity to take part in realizing Dr. Goodall's dream by helping JGI fulfill Jane's legacy from where it all began, at Gombe in July of 1960. Learn more at https://goo.gl/uMiakw #TBT #Gombe55 #JaneGoodall #chimpanzees #Apple #thinkdifferent #legacy #legend #groundbreaking
A post shared by Dr. Jane Goodall (@janegoodallinst) on May 28, 2015 at 12:07pm PDT
Goodall, who has been passionate about animals since she was a little girl (her beloved childhood toy was a chimpanzee doll named Jubilee), starred in the National Geographic documentary Jane, which features more than 100 hours of never-before-seen footage and has been nominated for seven Emmy awards.
While she’s now known the world over, as a young, female scientist in a field dominated by men, Goodall wasn’t always taken seriously or treated respectfully. Even after proving herself, she tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she never received apologies from the men who dismissed her work nor does she seem to have expected they would. “Of course not, no,” she says.
But there were some men who recognized Goodall’s natural talent and intelligence, including famed paleontologist Louis Leakey. Goodall started as his secretary on a research project and eventually led her own projects. It was also Leakey who insisted she get a PhD. “I would have to get my own money [to continue my research], and therefore I needed a degree.”
She went to Cambridge University, where Goodall was the eighth person in the school’s history to be admitted to the PhD program without first receiving a bachelor’s degree, according to Time.
But her entry into university life wasn’t easy: “It was awful,” she says. “One, I was nervous never having been to college. Two, I was told I’d done the study all wrong. I shouldn’t have given the chimpanzees names. They should have had numbers. And I couldn’t talk about [their] having personality, mind, and certainly not emotion.”
On this day in 1960, #JaneGoodall began her Gombe adventure to study wild #chimpanzees. Today, we celebrate #56years of continued research and the legendary mark Jane has left on our world. #Gombe #Gombe56 #tbt
A post shared by Dr. Jane Goodall (@janegoodallinst) on Jul 14, 2016 at 7:44am PDT
Despite being doubted and chastised along the way, Goodall continued to prove herself, including to her supervisor at Cambridge.
“My supervisor, who was one of the top ethologists in Europe at the time, he came out to Gombe,” she shares. “He started out my sternest critic. And then he wrote me a letter and he said, ‘In these two weeks I’ve learned more about animal behavior than the rest of my life.’”
Goodall also admits that her looks, which garnered a lot of attention, helped her get publicity while trying to secure funding for her research projects. As she notes, “And it didn’t harm either that I wasn’t born ugly. I think it helped.”
But she sees the focus on her looks for what it was: as something that’s ridiculous. “[It’s] pretty stupid,” she says. “Nothing to do with how you know your study, what you look like. But if they were going to, if that was going to give me more coverage, then that would be helpful because it was always having to get more money and also getting the word out.”
Goodall believes that how women in science are treated today has vastly improved, but there’s still a long ways to go. “I think it’s much, much better,” she says. “But I think there are some branches of hard science where it’s still difficult for women and especially in some countries. But it’s definitely changing. And in some respects, it’s changed.”
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