Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are

Frans de Waal, Author, Frans de Waal, Photographer , photos by the author. Penguin/Riverhead $25.95 (274p) ISBN 978-1-57322-312-6

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)

Reviewed on: 08/08/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-1-4295-3350-8
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