Longest-running wild primate study
Who
Dr Jane Goodall, Jane Goodall Institute
What
60 year(s)
Where
Tanzania ()
When

The longest-running study of wild chimpanzees is the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve study, which was commenced by primatologist Dr Jane Goodall (UK) on 14 July 1960, when she was just 26 years old, in what is now Tanzania's Gombe National Park. Still in progress 60 years on as of 14 July 2020, the research continues under the auspices of the Jane Goodall Institute, which was founded in 1977. Located on the shores on Lake Tanganyika, Gombe is one of Tanzania's smallest national parks with an area of just over 50 square kilometres (19 square miles), but provides a vital habitat to approximately 100-150 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) as well as many other species.


During this study, over 165,000 hours of data have been collected through observations of more than 320 named chimpanzees in the park. These data have in turn given rise to over 430 academic papers and theses, and have supported 39 graduate students in either doctoral- or masters-level university studies.

Another long-running field study of primates has taken place at the Primate Research Station in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka, where observations of toque macaques (Macaca sinica) began in the 1960s, initially as part of a broader project under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution (funded by the US Government's "Food for Peace" programme), and then championed by German primatologist Dr Wolfgang Dittus when he moved there in 1968, where he remains the director of the research base to this day.