Friday, July 20, 2007

Jane Goodal Among The Wild Chimpanzees

"This documentary examines the nearly 30 years worth of primate research conducted by Jane Goodall. In 1960, Goodall arrived in Tanzania and became a fixture in the Gombe Reserve, a wildlife refuge. Here she began her lengthy study of wild chimpanzees and their social structure.

"By not interfereing in the chimps lives, but always being present, Goodall gained a moderate level of acceptance from her subjects, allowing her to observe the most intimate of these primates social interactions.

"National Geographic: Among the Wild Chimapanzees accompanies Goodall as she explains her work and points out several chimp actions for the camera, including a now famous scene of chimps using tools to gather food. --Ed Atkinson, All Movie Guide

"Dr.Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace, is an English primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist. She is best-known for her study of chimpanzee social and family life in Gombe Stream National Park for 45 years and for founding the Jane Goodall Institute.

"Goodall is best known for her study of chimpanzee social and family life. In 1977, Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), which supports the Gombe research and is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. Today, Goodall devotes virtually all of her time to advocating on behalf of chimpanzees and the environment, traveling nearly 300 days a year.

"Goodall was instrumental in the study of social learning, primate cognition, thinking and culture in wild chimpanzees, their differentiation from the bonobo, and the inclusion of both species, along with the gorilla, as Hominids.

"One of Goodall's major contributions to the field of primatology was the discovery of tool-making in chimpanzees. She discovered that some chimpanzees alter pieces of grass or twigs and then poke them into termite mounds. The termites would grab onto the blade of grass or twig with their mandibles and the chimpanzees would then just pull the grass out and eat the termites.

"Though many animals had been clearly observed using "tools", previously, only humans were thought to make tools, and tool-making was considered the defining difference between humans and other animals. This discovery convinced several scientists to reconsider their definition of being human.

"Goodall also set herself apart from the traditional conventions of the time in her study of primates by naming the animals she studied, instead of assigning each a number. This numbering was a nearly universal practice at the time, and thought to be important in the removal of one's self from the potential for emotional attachment to the subject being studied.

"Goodall has received many honors for her environmental and humanitarian work, as well as others. She was named a Dame Commander of the British Empire in a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace in 2004. In April 2002, Secretary-General Kofi Annan named Dr. Goodall a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Her other honors include the French Legion of Honor, Medal of Tanzania, Japan's prestigious Kyoto Prize, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, and the Gandhi-King Award for Nonviolence. She is also a member of the advisory board of BBC Wildlife magazine.

"Goodall is honored by the Walt Disney Company with a plaque on the The Tree of Life at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom theme park, alongside a carving of her beloved David Greybeard, the original chimp who approached Goodall during her first year at Gombe. The story goes that when she was invited to visit the developing Animal Kingdom park as a consultant and saw the Tree of Life, she didn't see a chimp as part of the tree. To rectify this situation, the Imagineers added the carving of David Graybeard and the plaque honoring her at the entrance to the It's Tough to be a Bug! show.

"Cartoonist Gary Larson once drew a cartoon that showed two chimpanzees grooming. One finds a human hair on the other and inquires, "Conducting a little more 'research' with that Jane Goodall tramp?" The Jane Goodall Institute thought this to be in bad taste, and had their lawyers draft a letter to Larson and his distribution syndicate, in which they described the cartoon as an "atrocity." They were stymied, however, by Goodall herself, who revealed that she found the cartoon amusing. Since then, all profits from sales of a shirt featuring this cartoon have gone to the JGI."




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