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Science & Tech

Chimpanzee Behavior (Cont'd)

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 09:39 min

Dr. Jane’s discoveries weren’t all happy. Find out how she uncovered the darker side of our closest relatives.

Dr. Jane Goodall
Teaches Conservation
Dr. Jane Goodall shares her insights into animal intelligence, conservation, and activism.
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It was a bit of a shock to find that chimpanzees also eat meat. They're not just vegetarian. And the first hunter I saw, it was really exciting, because nobody dreamed that chimpanzees would ever hunt. And gradually I learned more and more about the hunting. And at Gombe they mostly hunt other monkeys, and it's mostly the young ones. And at Gombe there are colobus monkeys, and that's the main prey. Colobus monkeys are kind of clowns, and they're not very agile in the trees. They take spectacular leaps. They sometimes fall. And the first hunt I saw very clearly there was a small group of colobus up in the tree. And I saw the chimpanzees climbing. A young one, an adolescent, eight, nine years old, he was the one who was creeping very quietly up towards the monkeys. But the other chimpanzees were climbing to positions where, if a monkey jumped or even fell, they would be there to grab the prey. And indeed, they made a kill. I have to admit, I don't like watching kills. It's not the kind of thing I enjoy. But it was exciting. And they don't always kill very quickly, especially if they catch an adult. I also watched-- it was David Greybeard who was eating a little-- well, I discovered it was a baby bushpig. And the adult bushpigs were charging about on the ground below the tree, and sometimes a piece of meat fell. And then a young chimp would rush down to grab it, and one of the adult pigs would charge. And actually, they can be very fierce. [MUSIC PLAYING] [CHIMPANZEES SCREAMING] I was absolutely shocked to discover that, like us, chimpanzees have a dark side, and they're capable of extreme violence and brutality and even a kind of primitive war. And we see this most clearly when groups of males-- and usually, there's between 6 and 10 males in a community of about 50. And I'm talking about Gombe now. And these males will regularly, in groups of three or more, patrol a very clear boundary between their community and that of a neighboring social group. So there's an in group and an out group, as we find in human communities. And if a group of males are patrolling, they're very clearly looking for sight or sound of the neighbors. And they may climb a tree and maintain complete silence, vocal silence, as they stare out over what we can think of as the hostile territory of a neighboring social group. And during these periods, I've seen a young one, who perhaps was there with his mother, tagging along with the males, the young one who hasn't yet learned that silence is important. And he may start-- he may be wanting to suckle and whimper. And I've seen the result, the response to this, two different kinds of response. One from a male who went over to the child and embraced. Quietened him. Another, a male who went over and hit the child, which made the child scream and was completely wrong. It's just one example of the ...

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There is still a window of time. Nature can win if we give her a chance. In her first ever online class, Dr. Jane Goodall teaches how you can conserve the environment. She also shares her research on the behavioral patterns of chimpanzees and what they taught her about conservation. You'll learn how to act locally and protect the planet.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I loved listening to Dr. Jane Goodall tell her stories and the hope for the future. Overall this was a good experience and has led me to look into some of the items she shared (GMO, organic farming, Roots & Shoots and Seeds of Hope).

Jane Goodall is miraculous. Such a gifted speaker and pure soul. The class was well produced and the presentation was expertly organized. I was sad when it was over.

I'm a geology student who's lead charity projects in Kigoma and am motivated by Jane's stories and research.

Jane is so inspirational and I learned a great deal about incremental ways to participate in conservation and the environment. The first few lessons about Jane's experiences with primates were fascinating and I would have preferred more lessons devoted to this subject matter.



🤓I love her vivid descriptions of the chimps; we live vicariously with them! Amazing, human like animals!


It is so fascinating to see how their social structure is similar to humans and yet so different. After a fight there is a real effort made to gain assurance that all is well. I love that....there is something to learn here

Bernardo F.

It's hard to understand this, but animals can't be judged on human's rules. I'm not saying Jane shouldn't be moved or horrified by that she describes, I do when watching documentaries, it's natural to react with feelings... However, animal behaviour is far outside morals and ethics, even if it's painful not to do something when they're showing a behaviour we don't like.

Sofia S.

The last 2 lessons have been amazing and yet so sad in many ways. Just goes to show how alike we are as species. It's amazing to think that what we take for granted today - was in fact not known to the world not that long ago.

Marieke J.

I loved learning about the distinct differences and personalities of chimpanzees, like how some are more patient or intolerant with the younger chimps!

Tricia S.

I think humans have such egos as we thought we were the only species that leveraged "tools" or in-depth thinking. And what we humans have done to this earth is so sad and scary. We must all work to right our wrongs and respect all life and nature on this planet. Every life should be valued and just because humans have declared our species "superior" is not truly the case -- we treat earth as if we created it and we own it. I would say how we have destroyed the earth and environment shows no superiority at all to other species or nature, but greed, ignorance and disrespect. We must right our wrongs.

Izabela B.

Jane Goodall's description of Chimpanzee society is unbelievable, I felt there in the forest with her, I cried and laugh watching her describe how amazing they are.

A fellow student

I wonder why the male chimps are the heads of the groups when humans try to be different? The use of toys strikes me as interesting. I wonder if dogs and cats would like toys if humans didn't teach them to use the toys.

Belinda M.

All animals have emotions, compassion and empathy, if we only take the time to see and understand. Jane Goodall did exactly that, and its time we respected the animal kingdom so much more than we do. Really enjoying listening to Jane, and can highly recommend the books she has written. Such a knowledgeable, wonderful, lady

Dave R.

Jane Goodall's description of Chimpanzee behavior is unbelievable you feel like you're on the forest floor observing with her.