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 Associate Director of Communications & Partnerships at the Jane Goodall Institute USA, where she works to connect individuals with Dr. Jane Goodall's vision, and the JGI mission to create a better world for all by protecting the interconnections between people, other animals, and the environment. Ashley graduated Stony Brook University with a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology and a minor in Biology, and is currently a Master's of Science Candidate for Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University with a focus on Environmental Justice. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, now a D.C. resident, she has a varied background including nearly 10 years of expert communications and digital marketing in the social and environmental non-profit sector. Her intersectional approach to this work has been shaped by a holistic world-view, having traveled to Madagascar and Ecuador for conservation research projects, leading communications for youth social justice filmmaking programs, and as a part of several professional groups advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in environmental spaces. With skills ranging from conservation fieldwork, policy and advocacy campaigns, strategic communications, art, digital media, and design, Ashley believes in sharing information to empower and in the magic of storytelling to change hearts and minds. Through growing understanding, empathy, and justice, she is igniting positive change to create that better, more equitable world, every day.