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Our Inner Ape


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About the Author

Frans de Waal is a Dutch-born biologist who lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. One of the world's best-known primatologists, de Waal is C. H. Candler professor of psychology and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. In 2007, Time selected him as one of the World's 100 Most Influential People.


World renowned primatologist de Waal (Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape) has written an informative and engaging work that stresses the similarities and differences among humans, bonobos, and chimpanzees. Focusing on ape behavior (e.g., empathy, cooperation, decision making, social alliances, status hierarchies, conflict resolutions) within an evolutionary framework, he argues that the evolved bipolarity of human nature is grounded in our biological link to both the erotic and peaceable bonobos and to the aggressive and brutal chimpanzees. In his view, the "two inner apes" of our own species have their origin in the social behavior of those two distinct fossil apes that existed millions of years ago. In this vein, he pays special attention to wild chimpanzee violence and wild bonobo sexuality. This unique investigation offers insights derived from de Waal's own research experiences with primates at the Arnhem zoo in Amsterdam and at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center near Atlanta. With excellent photographs and extensive sources, this book is recommended for all academic and public science collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/05.]-H. James Birx, SUNY at Geneseo Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Noted primatologist de Waal (Chimpanzee Politics) thinks human behavior cannot be fully explained by selfish genes and Darwinian competition. Drawing on his own primate research on chimpanzees and bonobos-our closest animal relatives-he shows how much we can learn from them about ourselves: our qualities of "fellow feeling and empathy" as well as our power-obsessed, violent side. We are "bipolar apes," de Waal says, as much like bonobos as like chimps. The latter are known for their viciousness and "red in tooth and claw" social politics, but bonobos offer a radically different social model, one of peace and hedonistic orgies; de Waal offers vivid, often delightful stories of politics, sex, violence and kindness in the ape communities he has studied to illustrate such questions as why we are irreverent toward the powerful and whether men or women are better at conflict resolution. Readers might be surprised at how much these apes and their stories resonate with their own lives, and may well be left with an urge to spend a few hours watching primates themselves at the local zoo. Agent, Michelle Tessler. (Oct. 6) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Fascinating . . . This important and illuminating book should help our own species take [a] lesson in civility to heart."--The New York Times Book Review

"An enlightening look at ourselves"--The Atlanta Journal-Constitution"[An] excellent book . . . This is a rarity, a superb scientist producing an excellent book for non-specialists . . . De Waal covers [his topic] with great wisdom and subtlety . . . This should be required reading for the opinionated cousins (or better yet, world leaders) whose ancient encounters with Robert Ardrey or Konrad Lorenz have led them to believe what kind of ape we are."--Nature"De Waal demonstrates why he is the current Alpha Male of American primatology. Decades of cutting-edge research on apes (and monkeys too) lend vibrancy to his words, and authority to his conclusions" "De Waal offers vivid, often delightful stories of politics, sex, violence and kindness in the ape communities he has studied . . . Readers might be surprised at how much these apes and their stories resonate with their own lives, and may well be left with an urge to spend a few hours watching primates themselves at the local zoo."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Fascinating and enlightening: It's hard not to conclude that, in many ways, apes may be wiser than their upright relatives."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"For more than a quarter-century Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal has been unlocking the uncanny parallels between [chimp] behavior and our own . . . Our Inner Ape is filled with fascinating examples of how human behavior can be explained by our ape ancestors."--Outside Magazine"An informative and engaging work."--Library Journal"De Waal is perhaps the most literate, entertaining, and soulful of the cognitive ethologists."--Los Angeles Times"De Waal is an original thinker and writes with such a light hand that the reader can take a stimulating ride through his imaginative philosophical discourse."--Boston Globe"A new book on the human species by de Waal, one of the world's great experts on primate behavior, is an eagerly awaited publishing event. By turning his binoculars on the human species, he provides us with a revealing picture of the inner ape--what lies inside each and every one of us."--Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape"Frans de Waal is uniquely placed to write a book on the duality of human nature and on its biological origins in the other primate species. No other book has attempted to cover this ground. Few topics are as timely to the understanding of the human mind and behavior."--Antonio R. Damasio, author of Descartes' Error"One of the important disciplines that is generating new knowledge about human nature is primatology. Frans de Waal is the best-qualified scientist not just to describe the results of this research, but to draw out a balanced understanding of what it implies about contemporary politics and social policy."--Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man

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