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Dame Jane Goodall

Year of election: 1990
Section: Anatomy and Anthropology
City: Hants
Country: Great Britain


Research priorities: primate research, behavior of apes, chimpanzees, participant observation method, ape habitats, nature conservation

Jane Goodall is one of the most famous primatologists and has pioneered the behavioral science and field research of chimpanzees. She was able to gain new knowledge about chimpanzees through her “participant observation method”. This has led to a new understanding of these animals and their behavior.

Goodall established a new method of animal observation – the “participant observation method”. She did not hide from the animals, but observed them openly and was finally accepted into their group. This way, she was able to identify new behaviors. She discovered that chimpanzees make and use tools. She was the first to observe how a chimpanzee used a branch as a tool to get food. She also recognized that every chimpanzee has its own character. However, she also noted that the animals wage war against each other and that cannibalism occurs.

Her method is now established as the “participant observation method”, many of her research studies are classics. She has thus shown that there are significant parallels between humans and chimpanzees and has redefined their relationship. She founded the “Jane Goodall Institute” in 1977 and started the “TACARE Program” in 1994 in the vicinity of Gombe National Park, a community-based conservation and development project that works with the local population to protect chimpanzee habitats and reduce poverty.

Since her withdrawal from active field research, she has traveled the world and lectured on environmental pollution and climate change. She fights for the protection of apes and is committed to promoting the respectful treatment of animals and nature by humankind.

In 2002 she was appointed UN Messenger of Peace. In 2018 a documentary film about her life was released in movie theaters. She was awarded the Tang Prize in the category “Sustainable Development” in 2020. The award states that she is being honored for her “ground-breaking discovery in primatology that redefines human-animal relationship and her lifelong, unparalleled dedication to the conservation of Earth environment.”


  • since 1987 Book publications and lectures on the topics of chimpanzee protection, environmental pollution, and climate change
  • 1987 Withdrawal from active field research
  • 1977 Founding of the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education and Conservation, California, USA
  • 1971-1975 Visiting professor at Stanford University, California
  • 1966 Founding of the Gombe Stream Research Center, Tanzania
  • 1962-1965 Ph.D. (by way of exception), University of Cambridge, UK
  • 1960 First research trip to Lake Tanganyika, today Gombe-National-Park, Tanzania, for observation and research of chimpanzees
  • 1957 First visit to Nairobi, Kenia, assisting anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey
  • Graduation from a higher commercial school in London and work as a secretary

Honours and Memberships

  • 2020 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development
  • 2020 Honorary doctorate, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2019 Order of the Rokel, Republic of Sierra Leone
  • 2015 Prize of Katalonia
  • 2010 Bambi Award in the category “Our Earth”
  • 2006 Legion of Honor, France
  • 2006 60th Anniversary Medal of the UNESCO
  • 2003 Dame Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
  • 2003 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science
  • 2003 Prince of Asturias Award
  • since 2002 United Nations Messenger of Peace
  • 2002 Konrad Lorenz Prize
  • 2001 Gandhi/King Award for Nonviolence, United Nations
  • 1997 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, University of Southern California, USA
  • 1997 Common Wealth Award for Public Service
  • 1997 Global 500 Award
  • 1996 Woman of the Year
  • 1996 Medal of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • 1995 Commander of the British Empire
  • 1995 Hubbard Medal, National Geographic Society
  • 1995 J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize
  • since 1990    Member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 1990 Kyoto-Prize
  • 1989 International Children's Book Prize, Geneva
  • since 1988Member of the American Philosophical Society
  • 1987Gregor Mendel Medal, National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 1987 Schweitzer Medal, Animal Welfare Institute
  • since 1972 Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 1963 Franklin Burr Award, National Geographic Society
  • Honorary doctorates from the universities of Munich, Boston, Pennsylvania, Utrecht, Edinburgh, Ontario, Liverpool and Toronto




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