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The Pets of Mensa

You could call them "Geniuses Genuses". Whether they're popular pets such as dogs or more obscure varieties such as geoducks, the people of the high I.Q. society Mensa love their animals!

Find out why Mensans say that having a pet is a really smart idea.

An Evening with Jane Goodall

By Ellin Iselin

Feature Special to The Animal Channel

"Ah, wah, wah, wah, wah," called Dr. Jane Goodall to her audience. The chimpanzee researcher spoke to a capacity crowd of 5,000 people at the University of North Florida (Jacksonville) on Feb. 29, 2000. While the social scientist already commanded the full attention of her listeners, her imitation of a chimp calling to others far away was nontheless a superb device.
Dr. Goodall gained worldwide fame for her work at the Gombe Stream Research Center in Africa; which she established in 1965. But Goodall's interest in African wildlife began well before that. The researcher credits her mother with nuturing her love of animals and of learning. Goodall tells the story of how she took a handful of worms to bed with her as a child. Instead of scolding the youngster, her mother bought little Jane books about animals. Among Goodall's childhood favorites and inspirations was Dr. Doolittle.

In 1960, Goodall ventured to Lake Tangayika in Africa. It was there she met Dr. Louis Leaky, renowned anthropologist. Leaky was looking for links between chimpanzees and early humans. The scientist recommended Goodall as a field assistant, but enough people frowned upon a young woman venturing into the rain forest that it became apparent that young Jane would have to be chaperoned. Again Goodall's mother helped her daughter by accepting the job of chaperone.

From Goodall's research have come remarkable insights into the lives of our animal relatives. For instance, her observations show the hierarchal structure of chimpanzee social life. Males dominate and females develop their own separate subculture. Does this mean males should dominate in humans? Goodall very clearly makes a distinction between humans and chimpanzees and we are undeniably held in higher standards. Goodall contrasts the chimps' basic use of simple tools with the human capacity to use high technology.

"We've traveled to the moon,"Goodall illustrates. Likewise the scientist demonstrates the importance of empowering women. By doing so, the entire ecosystem benefits, Goodall opines.

"Family size drops," she states. And fewer humans, Goodall reasons, means less destruction on the environment, where the loss of wilderness is resulting in species reduction.

"Clearcutting is a problem," Goodall maintains. "It's creating a desert for our kids and grandkids." And, she explains, this leads not only to a loss of individuals, but to a loss in the quality of populations and their genetic diversity. "This applies to animals where all the human populations are growing," Goodall says.

Human havoc can be seen in the drop of chimpanzees -- now numbering between 120,000 and 150,000 down from 2 million several decades ago. Goodall says the decrease can be attributed to loss of habitat and hunters who, according to Goodall, show no mercy.

"Chimps, elephants, antelope -- everything that moves, they shoot," she says.

During her presentation, Goodall showed slides of a baby chimp, who'd been "adopted" by a dog. They mother had been killed by humters and the dog became a mother substitute of sorts for the baby, Goodall explained. Other orphans have ended up being trained for advertising and film.

"We know they're abused," the researcher stated, adding that consumers who buy purchase products made from these wild animals contribute to the problem by creating a market. But she remains optimistic about human nature.

"Everyone of us makes a difference," she said. "Don't let anybody laugh you out of your dreams."

The Jane Goodall Institute

Books by Jane Goodall

Cows on Parade

Cows in downtown Chicago?

Legend has it that Mrs. O'Leary's cow knocked over a lantern and started the Great Chicago Fire.

From June through November 1999, the City of Chicago hosted whimsical
bovines with Cows on Parade. Take a Tour of the Windy City with these colorful cattle!