03 November 2014

Google follows in Jane Goodall's footsteps

Fans of Google Street View can now follow the same trails that Dr Jane Goodall famously walked when studying the chimpanzees in Tanzania.

The Street View cameras, peering deep into the jungle of Gombe National Park, Tanzania, have captured glimpses of this special world: Google (one of the chimps) shinning up a tree, baby Gossamer clinging to his mother Glitter’s back, a troupe of chimpanzees “fishing” for termites with grass stalks, and baboons reclining on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, adjacent to the park.

Virtual explorers can also take a peek into primatologist Jane Goodall’s house, where she still stays when visiting Gombe.

Street View heads for the wilds

Google Street View, featured in Google Maps, is a technology that records panoramic, 360-degree views of many of the world's roads, allowing users to "enter" locations on a map, providing a uniquely immersive virtual experience. It has steadily expanded to include rural and even some wilderness areas, the latest of which is Gombe.

Most areas in Africa (except for South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland) have not yet been covered by Street View.

The best-studied chimps in the world

Gombe National park, where Goodall began her ground-breaking field work 50 years ago, is home to the most well-documented wild chimpanzee population in the world. Intensive scientific study of the current generation of humanity’s closest relatives continues here.

Goodall’s research revealed previously unknown aspects of chimp behaviour – they use tools, hunt for meat and have distinct personalities and complex emotions – that changed how we perceive these animals, and even ourselves in relation to other creatures, especially the great apes.

Glimpses of Gombe

A chimp called Google
gombe google crop

Glitter carrying Gossamer

gombe glitter and gossamer google

Jane Goodall's jungle home
gombe house crop

Watch: Walk in the footsteps of Jane Goodall

More Streetview panoramas of Gombe

Read more:

Jane Goodall shows us how to be 80
Chimps to be retired from medical research
Chimpanzees have 5 personalities
Man obsessed with Google Glass treated for internet addiction

Olivia Rose-Innes is Health24’s EnviroHealth Editor. Read more of her columns and articles or post a question to her expert forum.


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