Top 52 Quotes of Jane Goodall

You cannot share your life with a dog, as I had done in Bournemouth, or a cat, and not know perfectly well that animals have personalities and minds and feelings.

Jane Goodall

Words can be said in bitterness and anger, and often there seems to be an element of truth in the nastiness. And words don’t go away, they just echo around.

Jane Goodall

Women tend to be more intuitive, or to admit to being intuitive, and maybe the hard science approach isn’t so attractive. The way that science is taught is very cold. I would never have become a scientist if I had been taught like that.

Jane Goodall

When you meet chimps you meet individual personalities. When a baby chimp looks at you it’s just like a human baby. We have a responsibility to them.

Jane Goodall

When I was two, a dragonfly flew near me. A man knocked it to the ground and trod on it. I remember crying because I’d caused the dragonfly to be killed.

Jane Goodall

When I was 10 years old, I loved – I loved books, and I used to haunt the secondhand bookshop. And I found a little book I could just afford, and I bought it, and I took it home. And I climbed up my favorite tree, and I read that book from cover to cover. And that was Tarzan of the Apes. I immediately fell in love with Tarzan.

Jane Goodall

When I look back over my life it’s almost as if there was a plan laid out for me – from the little girl who was so passionate about animals who longed to go to Africa and whose family couldn’t afford to put her through college. Everyone laughed at my dreams. I was supposed to be a secretary in Bournemouth.

Jane Goodall

Whatever we believe about how we got to be the extraordinary creatures we are today is far less important than bringing our intellect to bear on how do we get together now around the world and get out of the mess that we’ve made. That’s the key thing now. Never mind how we got to be who we are.

Jane Goodall

What makes us human, I think, is an ability to ask questions, a consequence of our sophisticated spoken language.

Jane Goodall

We have language and they do not. Chimps communicate by embracing, patting, looking – all these things. And they have lots of sounds. But they cannot sit and discuss. They cannot teach about things that are not present, as far as we know.

Jane Goodall

We can’t leave people in abject poverty, so we need to raise the standard of living for 80% of the world’s people, while bringing it down considerably for the 20% who are destroying our natural resources.

Jane Goodall

There are certain characteristics that define a good chimp mother. She is patient, she is protective but she is not over-protective – that is really important. She is tolerant, but she can impose discipline. She is affectionate. She plays. And the most important of all: she is supportive.

Jane Goodall

The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree, I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there, my books, I went up there if I was sad, and it just felt very good to be up there among the green leaves and the birds and the sky.

Jane Goodall

The part that always shocked me was the inter-community violence among the chimps: the patrols and the vicious attacks on strangers that lead to death. It’s an unfortunate parallel to human behavior – they have a dark side just as we do. We have less excuse, because we can deliberate, so I believe only we are capable of true calculated evil.

Jane Goodall

The chimpanzee study was – well, it’s still going on, and I think it’s taught us perhaps more than anything else to be a little humble; that we are, indeed, unique primates, we humans, but we’re simply not as different from the rest of the animal kingdom as we used to think.

Jane Goodall

People say maybe we have a soul and chimpanzees don’t. I feel that it’s quite possible that if we have souls, chimpanzees have souls as well.

Jane Goodall

My mother always used to say, ‘Well, if you had been born a little girl growing up in Egypt, you would go to church or go to worship Allah, but surely if those people are worshipping a God, it must be the same God’ – that’s what she always said. The same God with different names.

Jane Goodall

My mother always taught us that if people don’t agree with you, the important thing is to listen to them. But if you’ve listened to them carefully and you still think that you’re right, then you must have the courage of your convictions.

Jane Goodall

My family has very strong women. My mother never laughed at my dream of Africa, even though everyone else did because we didn’t have any money, because Africa was the ‘dark continent’, and because I was a girl.

Jane Goodall

I’ve watched a lot of people who became famous who completely change and I think it’s because they tend to believe all the hype that’s out there. I don’t think there’s that much hype about me.

Jane Goodall

It’s been proven by quite a few studies that plants are good for our psychological development. If you green an area, the rate of crime goes down. Torture victims begin to recover when they spend time outside in a garden with flowers. So we need them, in some deep psychological sense, which I don’t suppose anybody really understands yet.

Jane Goodall

It was both fascinating and appalling to learn that chimpanzees were capable of hostile and territorial behavior that was not unlike certain forms of primitive human warfare.

Jane Goodall

It was because the chimps are so eye-catching, so like us and teach us so much that my work was recognised worldwide.

Jane Goodall

It has actually been suggested that warfare may have been the principle evolutionary pressure that created the huge gap between the human brain and that of our closest living relatives, the anthropoid apes. Whole groups of hominids with inferior brains could not win wars and were therefore exterminated.

Jane Goodall

In Tanzania, the chimps are isolated in a very tiny patch of forest. I flew over it 13 years ago and realized that, basically, all the trees had gone, that people all around the park are struggling to survive. It became very clear that there was no way to protect the chimps while the people were in this dire circumstance.

Jane Goodall

In 1975, when my students were kidnapped by rebels, I was accused of hiding instead of trying to save them, and of not giving enough money for their ransom. I wasn’t believed.

Jane Goodall

I’m always pushing for human responsibility. Given that chimpanzees and many other animals are sentient and sapient, then we should treat them with respect.

Jane Goodall

I would never say I was an icon, but so many people have said I am, so I suppose I am. I mean, I can’t not be what everyone says I am. But I don’t feel like an icon.

Jane Goodall

I was brought up to understand Darwin’s theory of evolution. I spent hours and hours in the Natural History Museum in London looking at the descriptions of how different kinds of animals had evolved, looking at the sequence of fossil bones looking gradually more and more and more and more like the modern fossil.

Jane Goodall

I was born in London in England in 1934. I went through, as a child, the horrors of World War II, through a time when food was rationed and we learned to be very careful, and we never had more to eat than what we needed to eat. There was no waste. Everything was used.

Jane Goodall

I think we’re still in a muddle with our language, because once you get words and a spoken language it gets harder to communicate.

Jane Goodall

I think the most important thing is to keep active and to hope that your mind stays active.

Jane Goodall

I think my message to the politicians who have within their power the ability to make change is, ‘Do you really, really not care about the future of your great-grandchildren? Because if we let the world continue to be destroyed the way we are now, what’s the world going to be like for your great-grandchildren?’

Jane Goodall

I never wanted to be a scientist per se. I wanted to be a naturalist.

Jane Goodall

I like some animals more than some people, some people more than some animals.

Jane Goodall

I learned from my dog long before I went to Gombe that we weren’t the only beings with personalities. What the chimps did was help me to persuade others.

Jane Goodall

I had been told from school onwards that the best definition of a human being was man the tool-maker – yet I had just watched a chimp tool-maker in action. I remember that day as vividly as if it was yesterday.

Jane Goodall

I got my love of animals from the Dr. Doolittle books and my love of Africa from the Tarzan novels. I remember my mum taking me to the first Tarzan film, which starred Johnny Weissmuller, and bursting into tears. It wasn’t what I had imagined at all.

Jane Goodall

I don’t think that faith, whatever you’re being faithful about, really can be scientifically explained. And I don’t want to explain this whole life business through truth, science. There’s so much mystery. There’s so much awe.

Jane Goodall

I don’t spend that much time being introspective, believe it or not. All I know is that I grew up not questioning God because that’s how you are. God was there like the birds and the wind.

Jane Goodall

I didn’t want to become a professor or get tenure or teach or anything. All I wanted to do was get a degree because Louis Leakey said I needed one, which was right, and once I succeeded I could get back to the field.

Jane Goodall

I did this book ‘Harvest for Hope,’ and I learned so much about food. And one thing I learned is that we have the guts not of a carnivore, but of an herbivore. Herbivore guts are very long because they have to get the last bit of nutrition out of leaves and things.

Jane Goodall

I am not deeply involved in Australian politics but I know there are prime ministers, governments around the world who are not acting responsibly in relation to climate change.

Jane Goodall

From my perspective, I absolutely believe in a greater spiritual power, far greater than I am, from which I have derived strength in moments of sadness or fear. That’s what I believe, and it was very, very strong in the forest.

Jane Goodall

Chimps can do all sorts of things we thought that only we could do – like tool-making and abstraction and generalisation. They can learn a language – sign language – and they can use the signs. But when you think of our intellects, even the brightest chimp looks like a very small child.

Jane Goodall

Chimps are very quick to have a sudden fight or aggressive episode, but they’re equally as good at reconciliation.

Jane Goodall

Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans have been living for hundreds of thousands of years in their forest, living fantastic lives, never overpopulating, never destroying the forest. I would say that they have been in a way more successful than us as far as being in harmony with the environment.

Jane Goodall

Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.

Jane Goodall

Certainly, if you look at human behavior around the world, you have to admit that we can be very aggressive.

Jane Goodall

But does that mean that war and violence are inevitable? I would argue not because we have also evolved this amazingly sophisticated intellect, and we are capable of controlling our innate behavior a lot of the time.

Jane Goodall

As I’m traveling around, I meet many small children. And when I look at a small and think how we’ve harmed this beautiful planet since I was that age, I feel a kind of desperation, anger, shame. I don’t know what I feel; I just don’t know what the emotion is.

Jane Goodall

As a small child in England, I had this dream of going to Africa. We didn’t have any money and I was a girl, so everyone except my mother laughed at it. When I left school, there was no money for me to go to university, so I went to secretarial college and got a job.

Jane Goodall