Eighty years ago today, on April 3rd, 1934, a real-life heroine was born.
Our story starts in England, where a young girl dreamed of Africa. At the tender age of 26, her dream became a reality and she left everything and everyone she knew to move to the remote forests of Tanganyika (now known as Tanzania).
Instead of a cape, she wore rugged shorts and button down tops. Instead of supernatural powers, she had her mind. Instead of bearing a weapon, she bore binoculars and a notebook. And instead of fighting crime, she fought for the research and understanding of wild chimpanzees.
This real-life heroine, who turns 80 years old today, is none other than Jane Goodall. World renowned primatologist and anthropologist, Jane Goodall shaped the way we see primates, specifically chimpanzees. She discovered their ability to make and use tools, something that, at the time, was only thought to be a trait of man. She noted down their social and societal similarities to humans, both good and bad, such as friendship, play time, and even war. However, most importantly, she changed the way we saw animals as a whole. Instead of simple, mindless creatures, Jane Goodall taught the world that animals are emotional, complex beings.
Today, on April 3rd, 2014, we celebrate the life of Dr. Goodall, and her years of hard work, dedication, and research in the animal community. Animal Culture was created for animal lovers and for people who strive to preserve the welfare and rights of all animals, something Jane Goodall worked hard to do.
So, to commemorate the first “Book Review Thursday” of Animal Culture, nothing would be more fitting than to feature one of the many books by Jane Goodall.
Happy Birthday Jane Goodall & Happy Reading All!
Title: In the Shadow of Man
Author: Jane Goodall
Synopsis: ”This best-selling classic tells the story of one of the world’s greatest scientific adventures. Jane Goodall was a young secretarial school graduate when the legendary Louis Leakey chose her to undertake a landmark study of chimpanzees in the wild. In the Shadow of Man is an absorbing account of her early years at Gombe Stream Reserve, telling us of the remarkable discoveries she made as she got to know the chimps and they got to know her.”
Almost everyone has heard of Jane Goodall and her work with the chimpanzees. However, the stories of the chimpanzees themselves, and what made Jane fall in love with them in the first place, is something not everyone is familiar with. In the Shadow of Man is a book about those stories, and about the early years, which would become many years, of Jane Goodall’s study, research, and fascination with human’s closest living relatives.
Not only is this book informational and descriptive about the complex lives of chimpanzees, but it also reads like an entertaining tale as you follow the lives of the different chimps Jane Goodall comes to know and love. You learn the stories of Flo, the old chimp mother, and her family; you grow to love one of Jane’s favorite chimps, David Greybeard; and you feel the pain Jane Goodall felt when nature takes its course in the chimpanzee world.
Not only are the chimps the center of the book, but readers also get a glimpse into the personal life of Jane Goodall herself. You follow her on her beginning adventures when she first steps into the Gombe forest, and continue on her journey through research, marriage, and the birth of her own son. Throughout the book, it feels as if Jane is actually speaking to you, the reader, and it is this aspect of In the Shadow of Man that sparks you to keep reading.
Filled with adventure, surprise, facts, and detailed accounts of the behaviors and lives of wild chimpanzees, this book is for animal-lovers, scientists, and avid readers alike. Whether you are familiar with Jane Goodall or not, In the Shadow of Man is a highly recommended read, and one that is worth your time and money.
Purchase it at Amazon.com here: In the Shadow of Man
*Note: The synopsis was taken from Goodreads.com. The review was written by © Kalie Lyn 2011, originally published on her personal blog, Palm Trees & Bare Feet.*