EDITOR’S NOTES Jane Goodall’s

Revolutionary Primate Study—and What Matters Now in Healthcare

By Mark Hagland I

n 2006, author Dale Peterson, who had known natural- ist Jane Goodall for decades, published his book, Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefi ned Man. Goodall, who

became world-famous for her 26-year study of chim- panzees in Gombe Stream National Park on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika in what is now Tanzania, had met celebrated anthropologist Louis Leakey in 1960 in Kenya. Leakey set Goodall on an astonishing lifepath, recruiting her to study chimpanzees in the wild and bring fresh insights to our understanding of that important

species—and purposely choosing an inexperienced young adult to do that norm- shattering work. After adjusting to the rough conditions in the bush, Goodall ended up providing the world with groundbreaking insights, among them that chimpanzees form sticks and plants into tools, regularly eat meat, and (tragically, for her) make war on one another. Yet she was savagely criticized by the white, male, academic “experts” who

totally dominated the fi eld at the time. Indeed, one of the most riveting sections of Peterson’s book involves his narration of what happened during April 12-14, 1962, at a three-day symposium entitled “The Primates,” and sponsored by the Zoological Society of London, and held there. The conference’s host, Baron Solomon “Solly” Zuckerman, a South African-born zoologist and primate studies authority, ridiculed Goodall after she had carefully presented her fi ndings, even though he had never spent signifi cant time in the fi eld with chimpanzees, as she had (in fact, his specialty had been baboons). As Peterson writes, “Sir Solly Zuckerman remained forever convinced that the

primate problem had already been solved—by himself—and that it was mainly a masculine melodrama on the themes of sex and violence. Yet even by the early 1960s modern primate studies were beginning to reveal and revel in almost the opposite sort of story... the new research and reports from the fi eld were starting to show… great diversity, an astonishing variety of ways in which the world’s many primate species had adapted to their great diversity of environments.” And clearly, Zuckerman felt himself superior to Goodall, at that time, an unknown

young woman with no academic credentials. Having asserted repeatedly that meat-eating was a rare phenomenon among primates, he felt threatened by her observation-based conclusions. As Peterson writes, “At the end of that day’s presenta- tions, Sir Solly began his offi cial summation with the barbed comment that ‘there are those who are here and who prefer anecdote—and what I must confess I regard as sometimes unbounded speculation.’ He supposed it was ‘not entirely a matter of personal taste whether one regards this sort of study of primate behaviour, or of primate evolution, as constituting a real contribution to science or not.” Of course, Jane Goodall would have the last laugh; her rigorous fi eld study of

chimpanzees in the wild revolutionized zoological science. Observation-based inquiry and experimentation are at the heart of the activity

around leveraging data analytics for population health right now in U.S. healthcare. In this issue’s cover story (pp. 4—10), you can read about what the innovators in the industry are doing, as they pursue a very broad range of strategies in a wide variety of areas. Every discovery is leading to new advances. As in Gombe in 1960, it’s an exciting time to be innovating.


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