Quote of the week – Jane Goodall

“What makes us human, I think, is our ability to ask questions” – Jane Goodall.

Jane Goodall probably understands the boundary between humans and other primates better than anybody, being the only human to have ever been accepted into chimpanzee society. Spending 22 months as the lowest-ranking member of a troop at Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, she was one of the first to recognise that chimpanzees have distinct personalities, and that they make extensive use of simple tools, something that previously had been considered uniquely human. Goodall broke the boundaries that separated us from the rest of the animal world, but in this quote acknowledged that there is still something special about us.

Humans are not the only animals that are inquisitive, not the only animals that can use tools, but we are (as far as we know) unique in developing a scientific method: a toolkit for asking questions, breaking them down into minute testable hypotheses and challenging them and ourselves in our endless quest for answers.

Jane Goodall has since founded the Jane Goodall Institute, making groundbreaking efforts to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. Now 82, her advocacy for environmental and wildlife protection continues through work across the globe. Goodall, we salute you!

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