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Follow The Footsteps Of Jane Goodall, With Google’s Virtual Trek Through Tanzania

Get up close and personal with over 100 chimpanzees in their natural habitat.

There’s something highly incongruous about calling Google’s latest mapping project–of the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania–a facet of “Street View.” Nothing could be less pedestrian than this closeup exploration of the same African rainforest where Jane Goodall made her historic observations about chimpanzees over fifty years ago. Today, Google photographers have penetrated deep into the jungle with 42.5 pound “trekker” backpacks and shot thousands of 360 degree images.

In addition to exploring physical sites like Lake Tanganyika and Goodall’s favorite overlook, The View, the Gombe portal lets you examine new satellite technologies used for chimp conservation and the scientific labs of the Gombe Stream Research Center. You can even visit with the very same chimps that Goodall herself has studied and observe their behavior, such as “fishing” for termites with the use of simple tools– the very activities that first led scientists to identify the close genetic link between chimpanzees and humans. In fact, we share 98 percent of our DNA with this incredible species. As you explore the Park, see if you can identify all of Goodall’s chimps and their offspring. Bonus points, if you can find the one named “Google.”

About the author

Jennifer Miller is the author of The Year of the Gadfly (Harcourt, 2012) and Inheriting The Holy Land (Ballantine, 2005). She's a regular contributor to Co.Create.