Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are - Frans de Waal

"A remarkable journey of discovery to the heart of a profound question: What can we learn about the evolution of our own cultures by studying the behavior of our primate cousins? A deftly written, deeply reflective work."
The New York Times Book Review

We have long attributed man's violent, aggressive, competitive nature to his animal ancestry. But what if we are just as given to cooperation, empathy, and morality by virtue of our genes? What if our behavior actually makes us apes? What kind of apes are we?

From a scientist and writer E. O. Wilson has called "the world authority on primate social behavior" comes a fascinating look at the most provocative aspects of human nature-power, sex, violence, kindness, and morality-through our two closest cousins in the ape family. For nearly twenty years, Frans de Waal has worked with both the famously aggressive chimpanzee and the lesser-known egalitarian, erotic, matriarchal bonobo, two species whose DNA is nearly identical to that of humans.

De Waal shows the range of human behavior through his study of chimpanzees and bonobos, drawing from their personalities, relationships, power struggles, and high jinks important insights about our human behavior. The result is an engrossing and surprising narrative that reveals what their behavior can teach us about our own nature. Amazon

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