Business, Politics & Society

Chimpanzee Behavior (Cont'd)

Dr. Jane Goodall

Lesson time 9:35 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
In 29 lessons, 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.

What a privilege to be able to spend time in a tête à tête with Jane Goodall, being able to discover her and receiving from her such a holistic teaching on conservation and future.

This class has opened my eyes. It's not as if I was blind to the things going on in the world but I was so "me" focused I didn't take time to really see what was going on. This is the first MasterClass that has brought me to tears...thank you Dr. Jane for helping me really see and let me know not only can I do something but that what I can do, even if small, can make a difference.

It's given me great reasons for hope, ideas to try and reaffirmation that my small daily efforts in conservation do add up and make a difference

I have spent my life to live and understand the natural world.This class has not just given me the additional information but has added heat to my passionate fire that I have for conservation.Thank YOU


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.

A fellow student

Jane's level of dedication and immersion in the natural world is amazing . Observation and interpretation of every thoughtful.

Mary H.

Jane Goodall emphasizes "the difference in personality between the different chimpanzees. " This is also seen in gorillas. At the Jersey Zoo in England, during an emergency situation, silverback male Jambo was gentle while a young adolescent male was not. Video, here:

Mary H.

"nature has fallen" - Rev. James McDowell Richards


It's interesting the way that all of the chimps seem to have their own personalities, as we do.

Ivy S.

I’m curious if Jane ever felt frightened for her own life . As darling as they are...she saw the violent darker side. I, too, was surprised to learn they eat their own species .

mansfield K.

I'm convinced. They can love. They can protect and they do. That's quite a tribute to them. After all, we don't expect that behavior from them and yet we can understand it when we see them do it. And we do wonder, are they showing their compassion because they feel as we do? I'm convinced. They do. But do they do it for spiritual reasons? I believe some of them do it because some of them are closer to us than we would like to admit. There are those out there that do it without thinking, without studying the ramifications or sacrifices of their behavior, and once they show compassion, they seem to remain true and loyal to their actions. Can this be true? Amazingly, it is. Just as it is true they can be brutal and violent, they also can be caring and protective. Bravo Miss Goodall. Bravo.

Svanfridur M.

I remember watching that same documentary when I was little, my parents most likely showed it to me after I first got interested in Goodall's work. Chimps really do act just as humans do now, and as humans probably did early on. Studying them I think will greatly help increase both our knowledge of our own behavior and of early humans' behavior, though most importantly it will increase our empathy for other living beings and make us more tolerant of them and of each other.