Born in April of 1934, Valerie Jane Goodall was raised in London until the age of twelve. After her parents divorce, the young Goodall moved to Bournemouth where she went to school and gained a strong interest in animal biology.
Her love of animals landed her a positions as assistant to famed husband and wife anthropological team, Louis and Mary Leaky. Her work with the Leakys at Olduvai Gorge inspired Goodall, at the encouragement of her mentors, to study at the Gombe Steam National Park in 1960.
Following her studies at Gombe, Goodall went on to earn a doctorate degree from the University of Cambridge in 1964. The same year, Goodall married Baron Hugo van Lawick, a wildlife photographer who shared her love for animals.
Three years later, the newlywed couple welcomed their first child, a son named Hugo. Although their happiness was relatively short lived (the couple divorced in 1974), Goodall was not deterred by the failure of her first marriage. Just a year later, she remarried and became wife to Derek Bryce, a member of the Tanzania parliament.
Even though her second husband passed away in 1980, Goodall continued her study of chimpanzee social structures and relationship dynamics, publishing some of the most influential scholarly research on Chimpanzees in history.
Today, Goodall continues her animal rights activism. In addition to the continuation of her field work with chimps at the research institute she founded, The Jane Goodall Institute, Goodall also serves on the board of advisors for the Global Security Institute.
Goodall's methods of observation might be controversial among members of the scientific community, but one thing is for sure: this primatologist will definitely go down in history as one of the most groundbreaking anthropologists of the century.