For decades, one of my most revered heroes (heroines if you prefer) has been Jane Goodall.

Disneynature in cooperation with the Jane Goodall Institute has produced a film called “Chimpanzee.” It opens Friday April 20th. Please see it.

… we are abusing this great power we have to be wise stewards,
and we are destroying the world.


9 responses to “Jane

  1. Oh- I haven’t seen it so really can’t comment fully but the disney word does make me dispair, just a little. Do we really have to humanise the natural world so that we [collectively] bother to care? I suppose if we have to…

    [Response: It’s not a Disney animated tale — from the look of the trailer, it’s a realistic look at an actual orphaned chimpanzee. And I think the Jane Goodall Institute did the actual filming.]

    • Chris Shortall

      “Do we really have to humanise the natural world so that we [collectively] bother to care?”

      Yes, I’m afraid ‘we’ do.

      And if ‘we’ don’t, others will – e.g. http://www.treehugger.com/fossil-fuels/clean-coal-carolers-from-an-industry-run-by-morons.html

    • Jules: “Do we really have to humanise the natural world so that we [collectively] bother to care?”

      Hmm. You’ve asked a really deep question here. The entire question of “altruism” is one of the most challenging frontiers of evolutionary biology. Basically, since we are the product of evolution, how is it that we have any altruistic tendencies at all–that is tendencies that facilitate the survival of others at the expense of our own opportunities for survival/reproduction?

      Long story short (and the long story is fascinating), game theory reveals that certain altruistic strategies facilitate the survival (and so passing on altruistic genes to the next generation) of social animals. However, the benefit is greater when we are more closely related to the beneficiaries of our altruism.

      So, maybe anthropomorphization of animals allows to relate to them better, empathize with them, and it may make it more likely for us to consider them as we decide how to act. If that is the case, I’ll fricking well sit through Bambi again.

      BTW liked the blog.

      • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kin_selection ? An active part of the field, sure, but hardly “one of the most challenging frontiers” of evolutionary biology…

      • I don’t think it is a particularly deep question, although I recognise it is an enduring question in biology.
        We’ve evolved the ability to anticipate/imagine. This allows us to place ourselves in somebody else’s position and imagine what they feel. We empathise.
        Altruism is merely acting on that empathy.

  2. I attended a fundraiser at the Woodland Park Zoo Chairman’s Dinner fundraiser back in 2000 or so, and Dr. Goodall was the speaker. She’s an amazing person and speaker. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when she was done with us.

  3. Andrew Bryant

    Hi Tamino. I appreciate all you’ve done with this website. I have a cute story about Jane, eating cucumber sandwiches in her hotel room in Vancouver or packing her luggage to talk about endangered species. Jane is, indeed, just one of those wonderful people who are “outliers” in any statististical measure of human behaviour. But like Gandhi or Churchhill, sometimes an outlier can be a most hopeful impetus for a change of attitude. PM me and I’ll send you the story of “jane and I”.

  4. She gave a great talk at the sydney Opera House in 2008, and was gracious and personal when she autographed her book for my girlfriend. Warmed the heart, she did.

  5. Chimps have interior lives. They’re persons. We don’t need to “humanize” them at all.