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Goodall Lecture on Chimpanzee Work Fills 10-250

Thomas R. Karlo--The Tech
Primatologist Jane Goodall speaks last Monday in Room 10-250.

By Brett Altschul

Jane Goodall, the world-renowned primatologist, spoke about her work with chimpanzees last Monday in Room 10-250.

The talk was sponsored by the List Visual Arts Center, which is currently exhibiting Next of Kin: Looking at the Great Apes. The exhibit features works by six contemporary American artists in a wide range of media and runs through Dec. 10.

Over five hundred people gathered to hear Goodall. Due to the large turnout, many who attended were not seated in the lecture hall. Speakers were place outside the lecture hall for people who couldn't fit inside.

Goodall relates childhoods experiences

Goodall described the childhood experiences that led her to choose her field and spend thirty-five years working with the chimpanzees of the Gombe Stream Research Center in Tanzania, and her fundraising activities.

Goodall described her earliest scientific observations which were made when she was a child living on a farm. On one occasion, she hid in a henhouse for four hours, waiting for a hen to lay an egg.

Goodall's parents had called the police in the meantime, but her mother was supportive and interested in her discovery when she emerged from the henhouse.

"From that time, I knew I wanted to study animals," Goodall said.

When Goodall first traveled to Tanzania at the request of paleontologist Louis Leakey in 1960, her mother accompanied her, since the colonial government would not allow her to go alone.

Goodall credited her mother's skill in dealing with the native inhabitants as establishing a lasting trust between the natives and the foreign researchers.

Currently, the Gombe Stream Preserve employs many of the local villagers as researchers, she said.

Goodall addressed the close ties between humanity and chimpanzees, placing special emphasis on her first major discovery, the fact that chimpanzees make tools. This finding earned her the funding she required from the National Geographic Society.

She showed many slides of chimpanzee activities, focusing on the children and grandchildren of Flo, one of the most famous Gombe chimpanzees. The slides pictured the animals eating, patrolling their territory, and playing.

Goodall also discussed the dangers that now face the apes. Chimpanzees are hunted both for meat and to obtain infants to be sold on the black market.

Many of these infants enter the entertainment industry or are used for medical testing, she said.

Goodall explained how the abject poverty common in sub-Saharan Africa hurts both apes and humans, showing slides of the almost totally deforested shores of Lake Tanganyika. However, she expressed a great deal of hope for the future, as society begins to understand the problems the world currently faces.

After the speech, Goodall was swamped during an autograph signing session.