Jane Goodall’s journey began in Gombe.

It’s where LouisLeakey famously first sent her to observe chimpanzees; where she discovered that chimpanzees use tools, revolutionizing Western science’s understanding of the animal world and our relationship to it. And it’s the setting for our origin story.

Founded to advance Dr. Goodall’s revolutionary findings, the Gombe Stream Research Centre is a living laboratory, home to the world’s most studied group of wild chimpanzees. Over the years, Gombe researchers have witnessed and recorded entire lifespans of individual chimpanzees. Field staff and researchers monitor the life histories and demography of the Gombe chimpanzee and baboon populations as individuals are born, die, and migrate. Today, researchers continue to collect data on both species’ behaviours, health, and social relationships.

We’ve learned a great deal about their complex social lives, personalities and intelligence. From tool use and maternal care to territoriality, hunting and meat eating, the Gombe chimpanzees have demonstrated great diversity in behaviour – and how similar they are to humans. Above all, these observations have taught us that chimpanzees must be protected.

A Legacy of Discovery

On July 14, 2020, Dr. Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute marked the 60th anniversary since the day she first arrived in what is now Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, to begin her groundbreaking study of wild chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees make and use tools.

In November of 1960, Jane observed that chimpanzees make and use tools. Before this, non-human animals were presumed to be mere automatons. This discovery revolutionized the field of animal behavior, presenting the idea that humans are not different in kind from other species, but rather only by degree.

Chimpanzees feel compassion and experience strong maternal bonds.

Thanks to Dr. Goodall’s work, we know that chimpanzees learn essential life skills from their mothers, including how to pick up on emotional cues. She witnessed chimpanzees embracing to comfort one another in mourning, and documented adoption of orphaned chimpanzees by others in the community. Challenging the notion that non-human animals lack emotions, she witnessed compassion and altruism, not unlike our own.

Chimpanzees can engage in a kind of “warfare”.

Dr. Goodall discovered that chimpanzees can engage in a type of ‘war’ against rival groups. From 1974 to 1978, a unified group of Kasakela chimpanzees began splintering into two communities and engaging in ‘warfare’. Jane found that they are as complex as we and with a dark side, which exists alongside their compassion and kindness.

Famous Chimps of Gombe

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