Illustrations by Dave Shephard

Jane Goodall

She changed how we think about animals forever.

In 1938, Jane Goodall was 4 years old and lived in England. One day her family couldn’t find her for a few hours—she was missing!

They finally found her hiding in a henhouse. She said that she had wanted to watch chickens lay eggs.

It wouldn’t be the last time Goodall showed a love for watching animals! In fact, she later became the first scientist to observe chimpanzees in the wild.

Making Her Own Path

In 1957, Goodall met a scientist named Louis Leakey. He invited her to live in a jungle so she could study chimpanzees. 

At that time, men could do whatever kind of work they wanted. But women were expected to stay home. People told Goodall not to go to the jungle. But she didn’t listen.

She went to Tanzania, a country in Africa. She watched chimps in their habitat in the Gombe forest. Instead of observing from afar, she treated the chimps like neighbors. She even gave them names. 

They're Like Us

Primates are a group of creatures that includes chimpanzees, orangutans, and humans. Goodall changed primatology by noticing that chimps are like humans in many ways. 

In 1960, she saw a chimp use a twig to catch bugs for dinner. The twig was a tool, and humans use tools too. 

She noticed that chimps have emotions. We do too. She saw that chimpanzee mothers share a special bond with their babies. Human moms do as well.

Her Work Continues

Today, Goodall is 88 years old. She still helps animals and the environment. She wants kids to remember that we all live on the same planet. 

“You make an impact,” she says. “And you have a choice as to what sort of impact you make.”

Goodall also has a positive feeling about the future. “I’ve got hope for the environment again,” she says. “But we must take action—now.”

  1. Why do you think the author includes the story about Goodall hiding in a hen house? 
  2. Based on the article, what was unusual about the way Goodall observed chimpanzees in Tanzania?
  3. What were two similarities Goodall noticed between chimps and humans?
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