Frodo, at age 36 (1976-2013), offspring include Zeus, Titan, Tarzan
On April 3, 2014, Jane Goodall turned 80. The iconic blond ponytail has gone gray, but the sparkle of intelligence, sly humor, and fierce dedication still shines from her hazel eyes. My conversation with Jane began in connection with the 50th anniversary of the Gombe, Tanzania, chimp study (see “Jane: Fifty Years at Gombe,” October 2010) and resumed this year at National Geographic, where we riffled through Anup Shah’s photographs and Jane’s memories. Her work with chimps began in July 1960, and within months she had become familiar with several individuals. She soon made three major discoveries: Chimpanzees use tools, chimpanzees make tools, chimpanzees can be predators and eat meat. She also began to recognize the degree of individual difference—unique personality traits—between one chimp and another. Then, in 1962, she took leave to earn a Ph.D. in ethology (animal behavior) at Cambridge University.
JANE GOODALL In those days, you know, ethology was really trying to prove that it was a hard science. Which of course it can’t really be. Not unless you’re very invasive. And so, although individual differences were sort of admitted, they were not discussed.
DAVID QUAMMEN Academic ethology didn’t like to talk about individual differences. It liked patterns.