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.
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.
If you enjoy reading books about human nature or primates, the following books reviews also appear on The Science Shelf:
- Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution by Donna L. Hart and Robert W. Sussman
- The Search for the Dawn Monkey: Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans by Chris Beard
- Human Natures by Paul R. Ehrlich
- The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker