It has officially been 55 years since the day Dr. Jane Goodall set foot on the shore of what is now Gombe National Park in Tanzania. In the past 55 years, in her work at Gombe, Jane has witnessed chimpanzee behaviors that taught her how much like us they really are. From their use of tools, to the way they treat each other — the good and the bad — to how they have personalities, emotions, and strong social bonds, there are so many ways the research at Gombe has shown us how similar we are to our closest wild cousins in the animal kingdom.
Not convinced that chimpanzees are anything like humans? Well, then these 10 pictures from the chimpanzees of Gombe, and the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo certainly won’t convince you.
1. “This is good, take my picture.” Probably not something that you’ve ever said.
2. “Ew, delete that.” This is definitely a chimp-specific reaction.
AP0300-39 (chimp looking at camera)
3. You don’t hug.
4. You would never do this.
5. Nope. Never been embarrassed by your parents.
AP0264-94 LR WM (young chimp in older chimps arms)
6. You don’t eat like this. Especially not popcorn.
AP0304-15 (chimp eating)
7. Licking your fingers is a totally alien concept.
AP0300-09 (chimp licking fingers)
8. You’ve never “cleared the savannah” after a meal.
Mbebo plays with Alex in Group 4 enclosure
9. GROSS. This is definitely not something you ever do…like ever.
AP0300-34 (chimps kissing)
10. Let’s face it, you just can’t relate.
Dr. Goodall has seen chimpanzees display the full range of human emotions over her years of research at Gombe, from love and empathy to fear and sorrow. She’s seen them dance in awe of the rain and mourn the loss of their family, form friendships and comfort one another. These animals that are so like us are endangered and need our help. Join Dr. Goodall in celebrating 55 years of ongoing research at Gombe, and learn more about how you can support these amazing creatures.
Click here for more information on the 55th anniversary of Dr. Goodall’s research with the chimpanzees of Gombe.