MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The world’s leading expert on chimpanzees and a proponent of conservation spoke at the University of Minnesota Friday night. Dr. Jane Goodall’s work continues with professors and researchers there.
Goodall’s groundbreaking work with chimpanzees in the Gombe, in Tanzania, laid the foundation for Dr. Michael Wilson’s career.
“She’s someone who has, I think, inspired a lot of us to get involved in this research,” Wilson said.
The associate professor began his research as a student at the University of Minnesota. The biological anthropologist now leads graduate students work there.
“Finding new ways to build on this really amazing long-term detailed data set. There’s so much we have left to learn about the chimpanzees. There’s so much we can only learn because the research has been going on so long,” Wilson said.
Beginning in the mid 90s, the University of Minnesota was home to The Jane Goodall Institute’s Center for Primate Studies. Even after it moved more than a decade later, the work continues. Currently, a student is researching vocal dialects to see if chimpanzee communities talk differently, another studies skeletal remains.
“Because of the tremendous foresight Jane had in doing that we have a lot of skeletal materials that we can analyze. There are really interesting things we can learn from skeletons we can learn about skeletal trauma about injuries. We have observations of how they injure each other when alive and we can look at their bones and see well, does this injury show up. The bones themselves preserve lots of information about chimpanzees. Now we can really get concrete data about what our ancestors and their relatives were eating millions of years ago,” Wilson explained.
Student Elihuruma Wilson is pursuing his Ph.D. so he can contribute to the work being done in his native Tanzania.
“I would want to understand more because chimpanzees actually they face problems with diseases and I would want to do something about that,” Elihuruma Wilson said.
Goodall met with the researchers before her talk at the U. Hear from Goodall on WCCO Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m.