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, following the same chimpanzee families that Jane Goodall first encountered over 55 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.
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 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. And 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.