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Frans de Waal

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Frans de Waal is a Dutch primatologist and ethologist known for his studies on chimpanzees and bonobos.

In 1975, de Waal began a six year study of chimpanzees in the Arnhem Zoo. These studies resulted in the 1982 publication of his first book, Chimpanzee Politics. In it, de Waal coins the phrase "Machiavellian intelligence", based on his observations that chimpanzees sometimes sought to deceive their neighbors and jockeyed for respect and resources. Chimpanzees, his work suggested, had inner emotional lives that resembled those of humans. Chimpanzee Politics was reissued in a 25th anniversary edition in 2007.

His studies in observation of mammals have led to conclusions that suggest that emotion, empathy and altruism are evolutionary constructs. The taboo of recognizing human emotions as anything but irrational, he asserts, denies greater understanding of humanity, evolution, morality and social behaviors of humans and non-human animals alike. Despite this rather "feel-good" interpretation of mammalian behavior, his work is receiving attention from his peers.

Selected bibliography[edit]

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