British primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall receives flowers as she tours Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary with her friend and founder of the sanctuary, Bala Amarasekaran, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, February 27, 2019.
On a visit to a childhood friend who lived in Kenya, she was introduced to the paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey, who hired her as a secretary and brought her along to an archaeological dig in the Serengeti.
After seeing her work in the field, Leakey decided this 26-year-old assistant, Jane Goodall, was the ideal person to undertake a research project he’d been designing for years: a long-term immersive study of chimpanzees in the wild.
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In 1952 a young woman from a well-off English family left school at the age of 18 and took a job as a secretary.
She did not begin the university work that would result in her doctorate until 1962, two years after she arrived in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park for a study that altered our understanding of human evolution.