Jane Goodall

Ngombe Stream and Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall found in her research that there are similarities but also differences between human beings and chimps. Humans have a complex language that can be used to teach the young about the past and that the past is something that humans need to learn from. Humans have a higher intellect than chimps and can ask what is life's purpose? Chimps can be aggressive and territorial. Chimps attack each other but, Goodall feels that for humans to wage wars is worse than the wars among chimps. This she bases on the fact that humans have a brain than can ask higher levels of questions. Chimps are only directed by their instinct. They can be taught sign language but do not understand past or future meanings. Humans evolved physically from an ape-man and culturally continued to evolve. There needs to always be a moral development make humans more compassionate and less aggressive. She says that what humans evolved from is not nearly as critical as the direction that the world is going. There is an interdependence between man and everything in nature and that must be respected. Her early work and documentation led other researchers to confirm that chimps have rank and that the higher one's ranking, the better the food is for that animal. This, in turn, causes better survival rates for high ranking animal's offspring.

Her interest gradually shifted from making observations of chimps in the jungle to using that knowledge to help the world. She established "Wildlife Awareness Weeks" around the world to boost local economies and aid conservation by providing jobs. She formed a group called "Roots and Shoots" to teach children around the world to respect all living things. She lectures constantly about conservation.

She is a staunch supporter of animal rights and wants better treatment of animals in laboratories and eventually hopes that other methods of research can be utilized. She is a vegetarian and encourages others to follow that path. Not only does meat eating destroy animals but, she explains, it means clearing forests to feed the animals which increases the amount of desert space.

Goodall thinks that people are moving in a good direction toward increased caring for other people and for animals. The main difference between cruelty among animals and among humans is that we have the mental ability to know better. She suggests that having a group of family and friends that support us is okay. However, when we draw dividing lines that separate us from those who are different than ourselves, we are endangering the spiritual growth of humanity.

She endured devastating personal losses. Her work caused her to risk plane crashes, malaria, hardships, rivers full of crocodiles, and the kidnapping of several of her students. Through it all, Jane Goodall is a survivor. These difficult time strengthened her faith in a Greater Power. Through all her adversities, she reminded herself of a quote from the Bible that her Grandmother instilled in her. She would remind herself that "as thy days, so shall thy strength be".

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