Jane Goodall mistaken for dead star on flight: She’s going to think she’s seen a ghost!

Jane Goodall says COVID-19 was 'brought on ourselves' in 2020

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Jane Goodall, 87, told the humorous tale of how she often gets mixed up with deceased fellow primate expert Dian Fossey, who died in 1985. The renowned primatologist revealed how, on one occasion, she had let it play out, despite knowing Fossey was no longer alive.

Everybody mixes us up, but it can be funny!

Jane Goodall

In a new interview, the award winning ethologist and conservationist chuckled: “Everybody mixes us up.

“But it can be funny!

“I was on a plane once, and the flight attendant said, ‘It’s an honour to have you on board, Miss Fossey.’

“I smiled, and didn’t say anything,” as she realised what would happen when the flight attendant tells the tale.

“I thought, ‘She’s going to go and tell people who she had on her flight today,'” she said.

“‘And they’re going to tell her that Dian Fossey’s dead, and she’s going to think she’s seen a ghost!'”

Jane is considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees.

And while many may not know her face, they’re living in a world profoundly shaped by her work.

She is best known for her 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees, since she first went to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in 1960.

Here, she came across human-like behaviours amongst the chimps, including witnessing armed conflict.

Inspired by the cartoon film Tarzan, Jane spent 25 years in the jungles of Asia and Africa studying the species and has starred in numerous documentaries about her work.

Now, she has a play about her life being broadcast on Radio 4, which she’s “getting used to”.

It brings to life the excitement of her early discoveries at Gombe through a mix of dramatisation and interviews.

“Wait ’till you see who’s playing me in the film that’s being made,” she grinned during her chat with Radio Times, as she hinted at the new movie.

While she won’t name names, it’s bound to be someone fairly stellar as she revealed Hollywood legend Leonardo DiCaprio is “behind it”.

Fossey also had a film about her made, where she was played by Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist.

Named as one of the Time’s 100 most influential people, Jane remains optimistic about the future of the environmental and animal welfare, as she explained: “Hope isn’t looking at the world through rose-coloured spectacles and saying, ‘Everything will be all right. I’ll just sit here.’

“No, hope, I’ve recently realised, is like a very, very, very dark tunnel with a tiny gleam of light at the end.

“The light is hope, but we’re at the other end of the tunnel, and to get there, we have to work really, really hard to navigate the obstacles that are in the way.”

She went on to urge people to do their bit now while it still counts: “That’s why we’ve all got to get together now and do our little bit, whatever it is, to make the world a better place,” she said.

Jane’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

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