This book was particularly interesting to me due to my previous work experience with primates. – Travel Animal Doctor
Since a three-month stint where I rehabilitated and cared for monkeys in Ecuador, I have been interested in working exclusively with primates. After a veterinary externship at Chimp Haven, a chimpanzee rescue in Louisiana, my interest grew. After veterinary school I relocated to live with my husband in Virginia. About a month ago an event appeared in my email, called the “Sowing the Seeds of Hope”, a seminar led by Dr. Jane Goodall, scheduled for April 17, 2015. I had to go. That evening Dr. Jane Goodall spoke about her time in Africa, and a convention she attended in 1986 that changed the course of her life. Her calling as a world-renowned environmentalist was born, and she has since been traveling over three hundred days a year to speak about how we can all work together to make the world a better place for all of mankind and the animal kingdom. The following review is on her book, In the Shadow of Man.
In the Shadow of Man is an autobiography of Dr. Jane Goodall and an account of the lives of the chimpanzees from her field study research in Gombe. Dr. Louis Leakey, a famous anthropologist, met Jane in Africa and was extremely impressed with her knowledge of African animals. He set Goodall up with an opportunity to study chimpanzees temporarily in Gombe, Tanzania. Goodall was to research the movements and behavior of the chimpanzees. Since it was a temporary gig, she had a deadline to meet, and the odds of collecting any data on the skittish chimpanzees seemed small. Goodall was worried that with the approaching deadline she would not be able to collect enough data to adequately fulfill her job requirements.
When the stakes were high, and with the deadline just around the corner, her luck changed through a behavioral discovery of a chimpanzee she fondly referred to as David Graybeard. Goodall witnessed the ability of David Graybeard to make a tool in order to use it to eat. With the realization that she hit her first home run in her fieldwork, she relayed the news to Dr. Louis Leakey.
Since that day, her research and understanding of the social hierarchy of the chimpanzees flourished. She fully credits David Graybeard for her growth in knowledge of chimpanzees. If it were not for the relaxed nature of David Graybeard, and the calming effect he had on the other chimpanzees, Goodall would have never been able to get so close to monitor the behavior of Graybeard and the rest of chimpanzees. Following her first success with the chimpanzees, Dr. Louis Leakey was able to get Goodall into college to receive a PhD for her outstanding fieldwork. Following school she was back in Africa, studying the behaviors of chimpanzees.
This book is only one of many books written by Dr. Jane Goodall, exploring the behavior of chimpanzees. Within it she describes chimpanzee behavioral patterns which are in some ways similar to the patterns seen in mankind. These behaviors include but are not limited to: child-rearing, male dominance, female submission, sexual attraction, hunting and gathering, fear, and the development of chimpanzee children into adulthood. The complexities of chimpanzee society seem endless, and her research serves as the backbone of many human and chimpanzee studies conducted today.
I aspire to one day perform fieldwork in Africa, so In the Shadow of Man was the perfect reading material for me.
Today, you will find Dr. Jane Goodall touring the world, teaching everybody the significance of education and advocacy of conservation. You can invite Dr. Jane Goodall to speak at an event close to you by clicking here to follow the instructions and submit a request form. If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy reading my book review on one of Dr. Jane Goodall’s newest publications, Hope for Animals and their World.