Through a Window: My Thirty Years With The Chimpanzees of Gombe by Jane Goodall

Through a Window: My Thirty Years With The Chimpanzees of Gombe by Jane Goodall

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Humans, complex social beings, unique in almost every aspect, this was the thought of many among the science community for centuries upon centuries. Until the1960’s when a bright eyed eager learning Jane Goodall, only 26 years old, set out to change the minds of millions that humans were not the only emotion filled, intelligent, tool making, learning, highly skilled beings roaming the earth. With Goodall being a female and having no formal scientific education, this led to her having many skeptics, but despite these minor set backs, this young enthused anthropologist not only shocked but revolutionized the anthropological world with a study about chimpanzees.

Goodall, though young, naïve, and inexperienced, made a groundbreaking discovery early on in her venture in Gombe, that humans were not the only tool making beings. One fall day as she watched David Graybeard along with others, she discovered them fishing for termites with stems of grass. She watched them intently as they carefully and mindfully choose and picked the perfect blade of grass, trimmed it down so that it was the perfect shape and size, and proceeded to poke it down into the slender hole of the termite mound. (Goodall 2000:19) The conclusion Goodall came to, which was profound to the science community of the time, was that humans were not the only ones making tools to get what they needed. (Goodall 2000:19) With this discovery by Goodall, scientists could no longer use the argument of tool making being a solely human trait to segregate humans from all others. Though the tools of the chimpanzees were not as extensively made as what a human is capable of making, it is a visible acknowledgement of the type of intelligence and the thought process that went...

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...dictate what she was going to think. Admired greatly, she not only led the path for more studies and a change in thinking but she also led the path for women in science and to go against the grain when opposition is great.

Works Cited

Goodall, Jane
2000 Through a Window: My Thirty Years With The Chimpanzees of Gombe: 1st Mariner Books ed.

Anthropology - Jane Goodall Essay. Version 3. Knol. 2008 Jul 26. Electronic document,, accessed October 12, 2011.

Wallace, C.
2010 Gombe Q&A. Electronic Document,, accessed October 15, 2011.
Lovgren, Stefan
2005 Chimps, Humans 96 Percent the Same, Gene Study Finds. Electronic document,, accessed October 15, 2011.

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