PASADENA (AP) — Chimpanzee expert and conservationist Jane Goodall was named Wednesday as grand marshal of the 2013 Tournament of Roses.
The honor was announced outside the tournament's stately mansion headquarters, where Goodall greeted well-wishers with the kind of chimpanzee call she said can be heard in Tanzania's Gombe National Park.
Goodall, 78, said she was startled when she was asked to be grand marshal of the annual floral spectacle, which next year will have the theme "Oh, the Places You'll Go."
"As most of you know, I spent many, many years of my life out with the wild chimpanzees in Africa — kind of different from Pasadena," she said to laughter.
As grand marshal, the British primatologist will ride in the 124th Rose Parade and attend the 99th Rose Bowl football game on New Year's Day.
Goodall, who began groundbreaking studies on chimpanzees in 1960, founded the Jane Goodall Institute to protect the Gombe chimpanzees and also works to protect endangered species.
Departing from the ceremony's standard cheeriness, Goodall briefly delved into serious matters.
"I think all of us here know that the world is really in a bit of a mess," she said, referring to the issue of climate change.
"When I think of how the world was when I was a child ... and what we've done to harm the planet since then, I feel a kind of desperation. But if we all get together it's not too late to reverse this trend," she said.