Jane Goodall Apologizes For Lifting Passages For New Book

Jane Goodall Apologizes Plagiarism

Jane Goodall apologized for lifting passages for her new book and not using attributions. The plagiarism comes in Goodall’s latest book, Seeds of Hope.

The Washington Post was the first source to discover the plagiarism and published an article about it. Famed primate expert and conservationist Jane Goodall responded to the allegations by confirming them. She added in a letter to the publication:

“This was a long and well researched book and I am distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited, and I want to express my sincere apologies. I hope it is obvious that my only objective was to learn as much as I could so that I could provide straightforward factual information distilled from a wide range of reliable sources.”

Goodall’s book apparently contains at least 12 passages borrowed from several sources, including Wikipedia. They are often reproduced word-for-word in a case of clear plagiarism. The book was co-authored with veteran writer and publisher Gail Hudson. Hudson also teemed up with the conservationist on two other books.

Because Seeds of Hope was co-authored, it is not clear who is responsible for the plagiarism. Jane Goodall also apologized through a statement released by the Jane Goodall Institute. She added that she spoke to several experts and visited many websites “dedicated to celebrating, protecting and preserving the plants of the world.”

The celebrated conservationist added in the statement that she would correct the missing citations on her website’s blog, as well as in future publications of her book. Goodall is most famous for her work studying chimpanzees in the wild. But she also knows quite a bit about botany — the subject of her new book.


The scientist admitted she has a lack of formal scientific training in the subject, but based if mainly on her personal experiences studying diverse habitats. Along with passages from Wikipedia, The Washington Post article also notes that Goodall and Hudson took from sites like Choice Organic Teas, Find Your Fate, and a website on the history of tobacco.

There has been no comment from Hudson on the plagiarism. A spokesperson with the Jane Goodall Institute did not answer inquiries on who was responsible for leaving out the citations. Despite Jane Goodall’s apology, it is likely that the stolen passages will tarnish her reputation.

[Image via Ferenc Szelepcsenyi / Shutterstock.com]