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Significance of Jane Goodalls Study of Chimpanzees

Jane Goodall’s is a British primatologist and anthropologist, famous for her comprehensive study of chimpanzees in Tanzania. Her observations revolve around the behaviour of chimpanzees and their interaction in social situations. Her research was deep as she noted how and why chimpanzees live in groups and why they embraced certain behaviors. In fact, the details and information obtained in her four decades of study would not have been obtained if chimpanzees were studied between two and three years (Stanford 402). Goodall’s study of chimpanzees has been significant as she uncovered numerous characteristics of these monkeys, which are similar to human behavior. Her research compilation has also provided unprecedented wealth of information for animal researchers.

Jane Goodall gathered many important facts about chimpanzees, and this input in the field of science cannot be downplayed. Her contribution has helped people understand the subsisting relationship among these animals as well as their connection with humans. She was the first person to discover how chimpanzees use tools, which opened doors for further research.

Chimpanzee Lessons Learnt from Goodall’s Research

Jane Goodall’s study was important because it put to light some behavioral characteristics of chimpanzees that would not have been discovered if the animals were studies for shorter periods of time. For instance, she noted that chimpanzees make and use sticks as tools for fishing termites (Goodall 91). In fact, the discovery challenged the idea that only humans were tool makers. She also discovered that chimpanzees and humans have similar development aspects (Stanford 409). The similarities can be explained by the fact that humans and chimpanzees develop faster than others and the mothers take care of their young ones by issuing permissions and restrictions. Additionally, chimpanzees can kill their young ones as they strive for dominance. Dominant position in the group is vital because a chimpanzee of higher rank can easily survive as it has easy access to food (Goodall 68). She also discovered behaviors such as kisses, hugs, tickling and pats on the back between this type of monkeys. The gestures show the supportive and affectionate bonds that are prevalent in other family members of the same community (Cromie para 4). This gives an impression that supportive and affectionate bonds can develop between family members as well as other individuals of the same community.

It is always perceived that chimpanzee’s diet consist of vegetables since the animals are strictly herbivores. However, Jane found out that chimpanzees’ diet contains meat as these animals supplement their diet with proteins (Goodall 98). However, this brewed controversies that the quantity of meat was trivial and the chimpanzees’ diet was aberrant. If the chimpanzees’ behavior was studied for two to three years, one would not have enough proof that these animals consume meat. Their hunting techniques and the nature of animals they prey on would also not have been brought to light. Jane Goodall’s work is, therefore, significant because she studied the animals long enough to prove that meat is a natural part of their nutrition patterns. In fact, they may feed on several kilograms of meat per year (Doak 122).

In addition, if the research was carried for a shorter period of time, one would have drawn a conclusion that chimpanzees do not regularly hunt alone. However, Jane determined that they form large hunting groups which consist of more than ten adult males, females and juveniles. They might also kill a large number of monkeys even though this has always been a mystery (Cromie para 6). The study brought to light some intriguing and interesting aspects of how the animals behave, which would not have been discovered if one didn’t spend such prolonged periods of time observing them. For example, Jane noted that the animals feed on meat to get nutrients and gain access to sexually receptive females (Goodall 118). Additionally, hunting gave the male chimpanzees a platform to demonstrate their hunting prowess to other members in their hunting groups.

The researcher also noted that some aspects of hunting pattern would not be attributable to nutritional needs alone. In addition, the chimpanzees hunt in groups because they are accustomed to a fission-fusion society, where group cohesion is minimal. Jane also noted that the membership of a hunting party varies depending on the success rate of previous hunting experience. Similarly, even though the female chimpanzees also engage in this, they receive a significant share of meat from males who capture the prey (Cromie para 5).

Jane made an observation that male chimpanzees use meat as a means of luring the females to mate with them. Similarly, it might not be possible for a female to get meat from the male if copulation has not taken place. The major source of meat for chimpanzees is the colobus monkey (Stanford 408). Similarly, male chimpanzees are a threat to colobus population as compared to female chimpanzees. Additionally, even though male chimpanzees are the major hunters, some male chimpanzees are better than others. In most predicaments, the preys are small animals weighing less than 50 kilograms.

Similarities between Chimpanzees and Human Behavior

Chimpanzees are relatively closer to humans because most of their behavioral design resembles the human’s one as they share 95 to 98 percent of the same DNA (Goodall 67). All this is attributable to the research and discoveries from Jane Goodall. Moreover, in terms of behavior, chimpanzees are similar to humans because, as illustrated by Jane, these animals have an omnivorous trait, and thus they feed on both plants and animals (Doak 112). The animals forage for food in forests by eating leaves, fruits, seeds, tree barks and plant bulbs. The other important portion of their diet is ants, small animals and young monkeys. They get the water from chewing leaves which act as a sponge to sop up the water. The feeding behavior is similar to humans, who are also omnivores. Human beings can obtain proteins from beef, chicken, fish or cheese (Goodall 78). Fruits and vegetables are a major source of nutrients and vitamins.

Chimpanzees are also similar to humans in the sense that they can communicate and convey information between each other. This is achieved through a complicated system of body language, vocalizations and hand gestures as well as facial expressions. In fact, their laughter vocalization is analogous to the human’s one. Therefore, information can be passed between the group members and they can reach a consensus. As for humans, communication is similar as they make use of gestures, body language and facial expressions. Similarly, information can be passed from one individual to another (Doak 121).

Jane Goodall noted that chimpanzees are able to use tools to achieve and fulfill their daily needs. For instance, they can make nests up in trees by using sticks. They then use the nests to rest and eat during the day. It also acts as a habitat where they can sleep at night. The nests are bowl-shaped and can also be made from leaves or other pant materials (Goodall 98). Goodall also observed how chimpanzees were using sticks to obtain ants and termites as well as scare away intruders. Humans also use tools to carry out their day-to-day activities, depending on the convenience derived from these instruments. For instance, while carrying out garden activities, human use tools such as hoes, spades, trowels and shovels. Chimpanzees are also capable of living in a wide variety of habitats and do not have a specific taste which might confine them to a specific eating pattern.

A diversification of diets and habitat lets them adapt to different environments and be subjected to different diets, which thus ensures a high survival rate. Same case applies for humans. Other similarities between chimpanzees and humans are their sense of sight, ability to experience various emotions as well as the ability to walk upright. They can also catch or be infected with human diseases. It, therefore, seems that this alikeness pertains to behavior and not biochemistry.

Conclusion

Jane Goodall research has been a useful and informative scientific contribution. Her major discoveries touched on how chimpanzees utilize tools, their relationship with other group members as well as the interaction between mothers and children. In addition, the discoveries on chimpanzee behavior have brought to light characteristics that were thought to be exclusive to humans.