Here I am registered at Cambridge, and very nervous. First thing, I was told that I’ve done everything wrong. Chimps shouldn’t be named, they should be numbered. You can’t talk about their personalities. You can’t talk about them having brains capable of solving problems. And you certainly can’t talk about them having emotions. You cannot be scientifically objective if you have empathy with your subject.

Well, the last I just knew was wrong. But the first three — personality, mind, emotion — my dog Rusty, when I was a child, taught me that was absolute piffle. Balderdash. Rubbish.

What about Rusty showed you that old ways of thinking about animals were wrong?

Probably any dog would have taught me. We all know that they can be happy, sad, fearful and that they’re highly intelligent. Rusty, I’ve never known a dog like him. He didn’t even belong to us. This is the strange thing, like so much of my life. He belonged to a hotel down the road. He used to come along, bark outside our house at 6 in the morning, get let in, stay with us all morning, go home for lunch, come back and leave when we put him out at 10. The hotel knew, they couldn’t have cared less. It was as though he was sent to me.

Sent to you by who?

[Dr. Goodall pointed up.] What I was talking to, saying, “Please don’t let it rain on the whole afternoon today.”

How do you feel about being labeled an icon?

I was walking through the market in Santa Fe. This couple came up, and the woman said something nobody’s ever said since, thank God. She said, “Are you Jane Goodall?” I said yes. She said, “Can I touch you?” Imagine. I said, well, we could shake hands.


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Credit: NYTimes.com

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