An Extraordinary Scientist(a)


by William Ryan

This famous biologist and animal rights activist's contributions extend far beyond the usual scope of such endeavors.

  Jane Goodall is the British primate biologist who first brought public attention to the plight of endangered animal species, especially chimpanzees. Her pioneering efforts and observations of these creatures in their natural habitats uncovered many discoveries which still shape scientific thinking today.


  Born on April 3, 1934 in London to a businessman and a little known novelist, Jane and her sister, Judy, grew up in England. Even as a child, she was fascinated by animal behavior. As a student, she spent her free time observing and sketching birds and other native animal species. The future scientist also began reading biological literature from a young age. A strong interest in primate behavior emerged early and would soon become her life's passion.


  Goodall graduated from Uplands Private School in 1950 and received her advanced study certificate in 1952. She fantasized about traveling to Africa to observe the behavior of exotic animals, so at the age of 18, she worked as a secretary and also part-time at a London-based documentary film company with an eye toward financing her trip. Goodall was invited by a childhood friend to Kenya, where she was introduced to Louis Leakey, a famed anthropologist. Leakey hired Goodall as his secretary and despite her lack of formal scientific training, invited her on his expedition to study the vervet monkey in its natural habitat on an island near Lake Victoria. Known as the Gombe Stream Reserve project, it marked Goodall's first observations of chimps in the wild. However, she was able to get no closer than 500 yards before the chimps fled. After finding another group of chimps to follow, she was able to establish a non-threatening presence and begin observation. Amazingly, within only one year, the chimps allowed her to venture as close as 30 feet from their feeding area.


  珍.古德是英国研究灵长类的生物学家,她是最早让大众关注到濒临绝种动物困境的先驱,尤其是黑猩猩。她勇于开拓的成就以及在这些生物的自然栖息地所做的观察,让她发现了许多至今仍然符合科学思维的事物。


  珍.古德于 1934 年四月三日出生于伦敦,她的父母分别是商人及一位小有名气的小说家,珍和她的妹妹茱蒂是在英国长大的。即使还是个孩子,珍就已对动物的行为着迷不已。在就学时期,她把空闲时间都用来观察和素描鸟类及其他当地的动物。这位未来的科学家也从年纪很轻的时候就开始阅读和生物有关的文献。她对灵长类动物行为的浓厚兴趣很早就已展现出来,而且很快地就成了她人生中热爱的事情。


  珍.古德于 1950 年毕业于高地私立学校,并在 1952 年取得进阶课程的学位证书。她幻想着前往非洲去观察那些珍奇动物的行为,因此在十八岁的时候,她除了担任秘书工作之外,也在一家总部设于伦敦的纪录片公司打工,以赚取她的旅费。珍.古德在一位儿时朋友的邀请之下前往肯亚,在当地她被引荐给一位著名的人类学家路易斯‧李奇。李奇聘请珍.古德作他的秘书,而且尽管她缺乏正式的科学训练,李奇还是邀请她参加他的考察行程,前往维多利亚湖附近一个小岛上的长尾黑颚猴自然栖息地作研究。这项考察被称为贡贝河保护区研究计划,这是珍‧古德第一次观察野生的黑猩猩。然而,只要她进入到五百码(编按:约四百五十七公尺)的距离之内,黑猩猩就会逃开。在找到另一群黑猩猩观察之后,她已经可以在没有威胁性的情况下进行观察。令人惊讶的是,才短短一年之内,黑猩猩竟允许珍‧古德可以冒险进入距离牠们觅食区域三十英尺(编按:约九点一五公尺)的距离。

 

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An Extraordinary Scientist(a)