Discover your “Inner Ape”

This really fits in several Science Blog categories besides brain and behavior, since it is a review of an upcoming book (media and entertainment) about members of the animal kingdom, and it ultimately connects to understanding human culture (anthropology). Readers of all those sections will be interested in discovering Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are by Frans de Waal.

The full review with a link to pre-order the book from is available on my Science Shelf online archive, but here are the opening limerick and an excerpt.

Chimpanzees, bonobos, and we
Are close twigs on the ape family tree.
If you study each cousin,
Then soon you’ll be buzzin’,
“Now I know why you’re you and I’m me.”

If we really want to understand what makes us human, [Frans] de Waal argues in Our Inner Ape, we should not focus on our differences with apes, but rather examine the “fascinating and frightening parallels between primate behavior and our own, with equal regard for the good, the bad, and the ugly.” That is precisely what he does in the book, with a wealth of stories and an entertaining style that does not sacrifice scientific depth or objectivity.

Children’s book author and science book critic Fred Bortz has a contradictory inner ape that monkeys around with philosophy and limericks.

If you enjoy reading books about human nature or primates, the following books reviews also appear on The Science Shelf: