Apes are not just our kin, they are also capable of human kindness. A bonobo or pygmy chimpanzee at Twycross zoo is famous for gently rescuing a stunned starling, protecting it and helping it fly away. A female gorilla in a Chicago zoo picked up a three-year-old boy who had fallen 18ft into a primate pit: she cradled him, patted him on the back and handed him back to zoo staff. Both animals proved that apes have empathy. That is, they can imagine how others might feel.

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It's no secret that humans and apes share a host of traits, from the tribal communities we form to our irrepressible curiosity. We have a common ancestor, scientists tell us, so it's natural that we act alike. But not all of these parallels are so appealing: the chimpanzee, for example, can be as vicious and manipulative as any human. Yet there's more to our shared primate heritage than just our violent streak.

In Our Inner Ape , Frans de Waal, one of the world's great primatologists and a renowned expert on social behavior in apes, presents the provocative idea that our noblest qualities--generosity, kindness, altruism--are as much a part of our nature as are our baser instincts. After all, we share them with another primate: the lesser-known bonobo. As genetically similar to man as the chimpanzee, the bonobo has a temperament and a lifestyle vastly different from those of its genetic cousin.

Where chimps are aggressive, territorial, and hierarchical, bonobos are gentle, loving, and erotic sex for bonobos is as much about pleasure and social bonding as it is about reproduction. While the parallels between chimp brutality and human brutality are easy to see, de Waal suggests that the conciliatory bonobo is just as legitimate a model to study when we explore our primate heritage.

He even connects humanity's desire for fairness and its morality with primate behavior, offering a view of society that contrasts markedly with the caricature people have of Darwinian evolution. It's plain that our finest qualities run deeper in our DNA than experts have previously thought. Frans de Waal has spent the last two decades studying our closest primate relations, and his observations of each species in Our Inner Ape encompass the spectrum of human behavior.

This is an audacious book, an engrossing discourse that proposes thought-provoking and sometimes shocking connections among chimps, bonobos, and those most paradoxical of apes, human beings.

Skimmed the last chapter. Something like 'we can choose to be more like the bonobo, less like the chimp. As a leading primatologist, Mr. Waal has studied chimps and apes for years.

He shares his findings on primate behaviour with the reader and draws astounding parallels to human behaviour. He shares Frans de Waal , Frans B. Visit the author's Web site at www. He is currently the C.


'Our Inner Ape': Hey Hey, We're the Monkeys

Our closest genetic cousins, the apes, are capable of great empathy but also of violent, ruthless killing. Frans de Waal, a prominent primatologist, compares our social behavior with that of two species of apes: chimpanzees and bonobos which look like smaller, more upright chimps. Despite their physical similarities, the two species behave very differently. Bonobos live in a relatively peaceful matriarchy; when conflicts do arise, instead of fighting they often use sexual activity to resolve them, defusing the aggression with friendly physical contact.


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

Selected as Praise for Our Inner Ape: "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. No other book has attempted to cover this ground.


Our Inner Ape

We humans like to think of ourselves as the most supremely evolved species on the planet, elevated and distinct from all others. In his newest book, leading primatologist Frans de Waal debunks this idea. Drawing on nearly 20 years of research on chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest primate relatives, he shows how many behaviors we think of as uniquely human are, in fact, paralleled in the ape world. But while other primatologists may study apes for clues into the biological roots of human aggression and hostility, de Waal insists that many positive human attributes—such as empathy, kindness, and altruism—are part of our animal heritage as well. In making this point, de Waal devotes considerable space to the bonobo, comparing this peace-loving ape to the more familiar chimpanzee.

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