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Wow, Squeaks, I’m so glad you like your present! Do you have a name for her yet? [Squeaks squeaks].

Our friend Dino the cuckoo bird sent Squeaks this toy chimpanzee the other day. Chimps are a type of animal called a great ape, and they live in Africa. Dino said this stuffed animal was just so soft and cuddly that it reminded him of Squeaks, and he just had to get it for him!

Hey, you know who else had a toy chimpanzee when she was little? [Squeaks squeaks]. A scientist named Jane Goodall. When she was just a baby, Jane’s father bought her a toy chimpanzee named Jubilee.

It was named after a real chimpanzee in the London Zoo, near where Jane lived. Even though some grown-ups worried that Jane would be afraid of the chimp, she loved it. And she loved being around any animals she could find.

She dreamed about growing up to live among animals herself, and writing books about them. When she was 26, Jane Goodall traveled to Gombe National Park, in a part of Africa now called Tanzania, to study chimpanzees. For a long time, the chimps ran away from Jane, but she was patient.

She tracked the chimps through the forests, and got as close as she could to them. She waited for the chimps to get used to her – which took years! But Jane showed up at the same time every day, giving out bananas, and just trying to be friendly.

Eventually, the chimps at Gombe trusted Jane, and let her get close enough to study them. Humans and chimps are actually pretty similar. We’re also part of that group of animals called great apes, along with gorillas, orangutans, and bonobos.

So learning about chimpanzees – their habits, how they react to diseases, and their relationships with each other, can help us learn more about ourselves, too. Jane Goodall learned about chimps in a way no one ever had before. She approached them with respect and empathy: an understanding of the feelings of others – other humans, and other animals.

That’s something you’re good at too, Squeaks! You’re always making sure your friends feel included and have fun when we play. Jane got to know the chimpanzees as individuals, with unique personalities.

She even gave them names, like Frodo, Fifi, Goliath, and David Greybeard! Jane learned that chimps, with their different personalities, are a lot more like humans than we thought. They use lots of different kinds of touch, sounds, and signs to communicate – or talk to each other, even if they don’t use words like we do.

And she discovered that just like humans, chimpanzees can show love for their friends and family, but sometimes get into fights. And they can show feelings, too, like being happy or sad. Until Jane Goodall studied chimpanzees, everyone thought chimps were vegetarians — that they didn’t eat meat.

But as Jane found out, chimps sometimes hunt and eat other animals. So it turns out they’re omnivores, meaning they eat plants and meat. But Jane Goodall made an even bigger discovery: she observed David Greybeard and the other chimps making tools.

They changed a natural object, like a twig, to make it fit a purpose – in this case, kind of a combination fishing pole and spoon. They’d strip away leaves, get the twig ready, stick it inside a termite mound and pull it out covered with tasty termites! Yum. [Squeaks squeaks].

Well, tasty if you’re a chimpanzee. Scientists used to think that humans were the only kind of animal that had ever used tools. Jane’s discovery meant that the differences between humans and other animals weren’t as clear as we thought!

Jane’s research was so exciting that soon, other scientists were traveling to Gombe to learn her methods. But in the meantime, chimpanzees were becoming endangered. That means that soon there might not be any more of them left. [Squeaks squeaks].

Why not? Well, humans destroying the environment where the chimps live, and taking chimps away from their homes, are a big part of the reason. When chimpanzees became endangered, Jane Goodall wanted to do everything she could to save them.

To do that, she had to leave Gombe. But some other researchers stayed and continued her work, which helped us learn even more about chimpanzees. The study that Jane Goodall started has been going on for fifty years!

Meanwhile, Jane traveled the world, explaining to as many people as she could that to save the chimpanzees, we have to save the forests where they live. Jane Goodall’s ability to communicate with people and animals by ignoring their differences and treating everyone as equals, is one of her greatest talents. It’s what makes her such a great spokesperson for endangered species and the environment.

And Jane is still traveling and teaching, helping people be kinder to each other, to the environment, and to the animals she loves so much. [Squeaks squeaks]. What’s that, Squeaks? You decided what you want to name your chimp?

What did you pick? [Squeaks squeaks]. Awww, Jane sounds perfect. Good choice, Squeaks. [Squeaks squeaks].

Good idea! Let’s call Dino to thank him for the present. You can tell him all about her name, too!

Thanks for joining us! Do you have questions about chimpanzees, or other animals, or anything at all? Ask a grown-up to help you leave a comment below, or send us an email at kids@scishow.com.

We’ll see you next time here at the Fort! ♪.