New Online Course on Chimpanzee Behavior & Conservation

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When 26-year-old Jane Goodall entered Gombe, Tanzania, she had no prior experience other than a passion for, and profound knowledge of, other animals. Essentially nothing was known or available to learn about wild chimpanzees before she began her research. Her studies changed that and the entire scientific landscape. Today, thanks to her studies and the ongoing research of those that followed in her footsteps, not only is there more understanding than ever, it’s now at your fingertips with an all new online course through Duke University and Coursera featuring the research of Jane and JGI! 

Chimpanzees are one of our closest living relatives, yet almost nothing was known about their behavior in the wild until Jane Goodall started her groundbreaking study of the chimpanzees of Gombe, Tanzania in 1960. This study continues today through JGI, following the same chimpanzee families that Jane Goodall first encountered nearly 60 years ago. Guided by three course instructors who have lived and worked with the Gombe chimpanzees, you will learn how Goodall’s early discoveries changed our view of human uniqueness and our relationship to the rest of the animal kingdom.  

By completing the course, you will gain a new appreciation of the deep similarities between chimpanzees and humans in intelligence, tool use, hunting, personality and social relationships, as well as some key differences. You will also learn how chimpanzees interact with their environment and how their behavior is influenced by ecology, as well as the severe conservation challenges they face today. You will employ your new knowledge of chimpanzees to construct a persuasive argument for their protection.  

This course is open to everyone interested in learning more about these fascinating and complex beings. Knowledge of high-school level biology is beneficial but not required. Please keep in mind, however, that the content of this course will cover all aspects of chimpanzee life, including scientific discussion of sexual and aggressive behaviors. 

Chimpanzee Behavior and Conservation 

Enrollment and access to all course materials is free and open to all. A small fee is charged for those wanting a certificate of course completion, signed by the instructors. You can enroll in the class through the following link: 

https://www.coursera.org/learn/chimp

To learn more about JGI’s legacy of science and our ongoing research visit our website here. You can support our ongoing research here.   


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The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Ashley Sullivan is the Community Engagement Specialist at the Jane Goodall Institute, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Biology. She has a varied background including conservation, art, communications, digital media, design, photography, and documentary filmmaking. Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the need for storytelling. Through growing understanding and empathy, she believes it is possible to ignite positive change, every day.