Jane Goodall turned 80 this week and she’s one of my top five favorite people on the planet.
Not long after her second husband Derek died from cancer, she climbed the Gombe forest hills, witnessed a thunderstorm, and then had a life-changing transcendental experience. She describes the moment in her memoir A Reason for Hope, writing that although she rejected God after Derek’s death, in this moment she found “peace which passeth understanding” that would remain a source of strength during tough times for the rest of her life. She writes at length in the memoir about faith, including a story about her telling a bellhop that evolution does not conflict with the Bible, and how she believes chimps have a primitive spirituality, most evident in their amazing rain dances.
Here is a recording of her admitting she believes in the possibility of an undiscovered primate like Bigfoot.