Education

FAQs with Jane: When did you first decide you wanted to go to Africa?

Dr. Jane first decided that she wanted to go to Africa to study animals and write books about them after reading “Dr. Dolittle” and “Tarzan of the Apes” as a child. To this day, Dr. Jane still believes that Tarzan married the wrong Jane!

FAQs with Jane: Did you know you wanted to study chimpanzees from the time you were young?

When Dr. Jane was young, she knew that she wanted to live with animals in Africa and write books about them. She never dreamed of studying an animal as exotic as a chimpanzee.

FAQs with Jane: Do you have a favorite chimpanzee at Gombe?

Dr. Jane’s favorite chimpanzee of all time is David Greybeard, the one who first trusted her and allowed her to come close enough to observe him. Her favorite chimpanzee at Gombe today is a female named Gremlin who Dr. Jane has known since she was a newborn baby.

FAQs with Jane: What is the most exciting thing that happened while you were in Gombe?

Dr. Jane had some many exciting experiences in Gombe. She was thrilled the first time a group of chimpanzees let her observe them instead of running away in fear. She was also amazed when she saw a chimpanzee she called David Greybeard make and use a tool. In those days, it was thought that only humans made and used tools. In this video, Dr. Jane talks about some of the other exciting experiences she had while conducting her research in the forests of Gombe.

FAQs with Jane: Were you scared when you first went into the forest alone?

In 1960, when Dr. Jane first began studying chimpanzees in the forests of what is now known as Gombe National Park, she felt like she was at home. Famous anthropologist and paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey was looking for someone to observe wild chimpanzees’ behavior in order to better understand how humans evolved. After meeting Dr. Jane, Dr. Leakey decided that she was just the person to take on this study.

FAQs with Jane: What were your parents’ names?

Dr. Jane’s father’s name was Mortimer Herbert and her mother’s name was Margaret Myfanwe, but everyone called her Vanne.

FAQs with Jane: Do you have any siblings?

Dr. Jane has one sister named Judy who lives at their childhood home called, “The Birches.” Judy has two daughters and two grandsons. Between lecture tours, Dr. Jane returns to The Birches and enjoys spending time with her family and the company of the dogs who call The Birches home.

FAQs with Jane: Where did you grow up?

Dr. Jane grew up in Bournemouth, England. She moved from France to her grandmother’s house, The Birches, in Bournemouth when World War II began. Today, when Dr. Goodall is not on tour, she returns to The Birches where her sister Judy lives with her family.
 
For more information about Dr. Jane’s early life, please visit janegoodall.org/study-corner.

FAQs with Jane: Where were you born?

Dr. Jane was born in London, England, on April 3, 1934.

FAQs with Jane: What is the story behind the plush toy monkey you’re holding?

In this video, Dr. Jane talks about her mascot: a plush toy monkey named Mr. H. Over the years, Dr. Jane and Mr. H have visited more than 50 countries, and he has been shared with millions of people, including countless children! Dr. Jane tells the story behind Mr. H and the origin of his unusual name.
If you would like your own Mr. H Jr. plush toy — that looks just like the original Mr. H — please visit janegoodall.org/product/mr-h-jr.
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