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Jane Goodall's Geni Profile

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Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall

Also Known As: "Dame Jane Morris Goodall"
Birthplace: London, Greater London, UK
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Mortimer Herbert Morris-Goodall and Vanne Morris-Goodall
Widow of Derek Noel Macleans Bryceson
Ex-wife of Hugo van Lawick
Mother of <private> van Lawick
Sister of <private> Waters (Morris-Goodall)

Managed by: Nina Collot d'Escury
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Jane Goodall

Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE (born Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall on 3 April 1934), is a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and has worked extensively on conservation and animal welfare issues.


Jane Goodall was born in London, England in 1934 to Mortimer Herbert Morris-Goodall, a businessman, and Margaret Myfanwe Joseph, a novelist who wrote under the name Vanne Morris-Goodall. As a child she was given a lifelike chimpanzee toy named Jubilee by her father; her fondness for the toy started her early love of animals. Today, the toy still sits on her dresser in London. As she writes in her book, Reason For Hope: "My mother's friends were horrified by this toy, thinking it would frighten me and give me nightmares."

Goodall had always been passionate about animals and Africa, which brought her to the farm of a friend in the Kenya highlands in 1957. From there, she obtained work as a secretary, and acting on her friend's advice she telephoned Louis Leakey, a Kenyan archaeologist and paleontologist, with no other thought than to make an appointment to discuss animals. Leakey, believing that the study of existing great apes could provide indications of the behaviour of early hominids, was looking for a chimpanzee researcher though he kept the idea to himself. Instead, he proposed that Goodall work for him as a secretary. After obtaining his wife Mary Leakey's approval, Louis sent Goodall to Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, where he laid out his plans.

In 1958, Leakey sent Goodall to London to study primate behavior with Osman Hill and primate anatomy with John Napier. Leakey raised funds, and in 1960 Goodall went to Gombe Stream National Park becoming the first of "Leakey's Angels". She was accompanied by her mother whose presence was necessary to satisfy the requirements of David Anstey, chief warden, who was concerned for their safety; Tanzania was "Tanganyika" at that time and a British protectorate.

Leakey arranged funding and in 1962 sent Goodall, who had no degree, to Cambridge University where she obtained a Ph.D degree in Ethology.[4][6] She became only the eighth person to be allowed study for a Ph.D without first obtaining a BA or B.Sc. Her thesis was completed in 1965 under the tutorship of Robert Hinde, former master of St. John's College, Cambridge, titled "Behavior of the Free-Ranging Chimpanzee," detailing her first five years of study at the Gombe Reserve.

Goodall has been married twice. On 28 March 1964 she married wildlife photographer Baron Hugo van Lawick at Chelsea Old Church, London, becoming Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall. The couple had a son, Hugo Eric Louis, affectionately known as "Grub," who was born in 1967. They divorced amicably in 1974. In 1975 she married Derek Bryceson (a member of Tanzania's parliament and the director of that country's national parks) and they remained married until his death from cancer in October 1980. Goodall still wears Bryceson's wedding ring, and their marriage has been described as "blissful."With his position in the Tanzanian government as head of the country's national park system, Bryceson was able to protect Goodall's research project and implement an embargo on tourism at Gombe while he was alive.

When asked if she believed in God, Goodall said in September 2010: "I don’t have any idea of who or what God is. But I do believe in some great spiritual power. I don’t know what to call it. I feel it particularly when I’m out in nature. It’s just something that’s bigger and stronger than what I am or what anybody is. I feel it. And it’s enough for me."

Goodall also set herself apart from the traditional conventions of the time by naming the animals in her studies of primates, instead of assigning each a number. 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. Among those that Goodall named during her years in Gombe were:

   * David Greybeard, a grey-chinned male who first warmed up to Goodall.
   * Goliath, a friend of David Greybeard, originally the alpha male named for his bold nature.
   * Mike, who through his cunning and improvisation displaced Goliath as the alpha male.
   * Humphrey, a big, strong, bullysome male.
   * Gigi, a large, sterile female who delighted in being the "aunt" of any young chimps or humans.
   * Mr. McGregor, a belligerent older male.
   * Flo, a motherly, high-ranking female with a bulbous nose and ragged ears, and her children, Figan, Faben, Freud, Fifi, and Flint.
   * Frodo, Fifi's second oldest child, an aggressive male who would frequently attack Jane.



   * 1980: Order of the Golden Ark, World Wildlife Award for Conservation
   * 1984: J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize
   * 1985: Living Legacy Award from the International Women's League
   * Society of the United States; Award for Humane Excellence, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
   * 1987: Ian Biggs' Prize
   * 1989: Encyclopædia Britannica Award for Excellence on the Dissemination of Learning for the Benefit of Mankind; Anthropologist of the Year Award
   * 1990: The AMES Award, American Anthropologist Association; Whooping Crane Conservation Award, Conoco, Inc.; Gold Medal of the Society of Women Geographers; Inamori Foundation Award; Washoe Award; The Kyoto Prize in Basic Science
   * 1991: The Edinburgh Medal
   * 1993: Rainforest Alliance Champion Award
   * 1994: Chester Zoo Diamond Jubilee Medal
   * 1995: Commander of the Order of the British Empire, presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; The National Geographic Society Hubbard Medal for Distinction in Exploration, Discovery, and Research; Lifetime Achievement Award, In Defense of Animals; The Moody Gardens Environmental Award; Honorary Wardenship of Uganda National Parks
   * 1996: The Zoological Society of London Silver Medal; The Tanzanian Kilimanjaro Medal; The Primate Society of Great Britain Conservation Award; The Caring Institute Award; The Polar Bear Award; William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement
   * 1997: John & Alice Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement; David S. Ingells, Jr. Award for Excellence; Common Wealth Award for Public Service; The Field Museum's Award of Merit; Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement; Royal Geographical Society / Discovery Channel Europe Award for A Lifetime of Discovery
   * 1998: Disney's Animal Kingdom Eco Hero Award; National Science Board Public Service Award; The Orion Society's John Hay Award
   * 1999: International Peace Award; Botanical Research Institute of Texas International Award of Excellence in Conservation, Community of Christ International Peace Award
   * 2001: Graham J. Norton Award for Achievement in Increasing Community Livability; Rungius Award of the National Museum of Wildlife Art, USA; Roger Tory Peterson Memorial Medal, Harvard Museum of Natural History; Master Peace Award; Gandhi/King Award for Non-Violence
   * 2002: The Huxley Memorial Medal, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland; United Nations "Messenger of Peace" Appointment
   * 2003: Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science; Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment Award; Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Achievement; Dame of the British Empire, presented by His Royal Highness Prince Charles; Chicago Academy of Sciences' Honorary Environmental Leader Award
   * 2004: Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest; Will Rogers Spirit Award, the Rotary Club of Will Rogers and Will Rogers Memorial Museums; Life Time Achievement Award, the International Fund for Animal Welfare; Honorary Degree from Haverford College
   * 2005: Honorary doctorate degree in science from Syracuse University
   * 2005: Presented with Discovery and Imagination Award
   * 2006: Received the 60th Anniversary Medal of the UNESCO and the French Légion d'honneur.
   * 2007: Honorary doctorate degree in commemoration of Carl Linnaeus from Uppsala University
   * 2007: Honorary doctorate degree from University of Liverpool
   * 2008: Honorary doctorate degree from University of Toronto

A complete list of Goodall's awards and honors is available through her curriculum vitae on the Jane Goodall Institute website.

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Jane Goodall's Timeline

April 3, 1934
London, Greater London, UK