Jane Goodall's Cliché-Smashing Career

Jane Goodall, who rocked science with her chimps, is as important and mesmerizing as ever, but for a very different reason now
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Jane Goodall's Cliché-Smashing Career Jane Goodall Institute

Jane Goodall, the primatologist-turned-activist, made revolutionary discoveries about chimpanzees that forever changed our understanding of our closest genetic relatives. Her work redefined our understanding of chimpanzees and, in doing so, upending long-held beliefs about humans and the rest of the animal kingdom—while catapulting her to international fame. She is arguably the most famous female scientist in history, revered as much for her work as for inspiring generations of girls and women.

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Jane Goodall, in her home in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, writes 20-30 letters a day trying to further her goals of protecting chimps, their rights and habitat. Jane uses her "touch" to empower the individual into thinking that what they do can make a difference. The force of her personality makes it difficult to say no. She learned from Flo, a high-ranking female chimp at Gombe, that paying attention to the individual gets results. Michael Nichols/National Geographic