Selected as ...
New York Times
Notable Book - 2005
Seed Magazine Top 10 Science Books - 2005


Science Friday (audio)
Fred Bortz

92Y Blog
Science & Theology Interview
Science & Theology Q&A
New York Times Book Review
Atlanta J Constitution Q&A
Phillip Manning in Atlanta J Constitution
Marc Steiner Show (audio)
Lecture @ Pop!Tech (audio)
Paradiso Amsterdam (Dutch lecture on video)
Granta (audio)
Times of London

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New Statesman
Scientific American
Discover Magazine
The Infinite Mind (NPR, includes audio)
To the Best of Our Knowledge (NPR, includes audio)
Quirks & Quarks (CBC, includes audio)
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NRC Handelsblad (Dutch)
Times of London
Science & Theology

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La Libre Belgique (French)
La Libre Belgique - Interview (French)
L'Express (French)
Le Point (French)
Le Monde (French)
Les Echos (French)
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Vegetarian Friends
Radio_France (French)
Der Spiegel (German)

Der Spiegel (English)
Read Me (German)
Die Welt (German)
La Stampa (Italian)
Panorama (Italian)
O Estade de Sao Paulo (Portuguese)



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


"Frans de Waal is uniquely placed to write a book on the duality of human nature and on its biological origins in other primate species. No other book has attempted to cover this ground. Few topics are as timely to the understanding of the human mind and behavior."
- Antonio R. Damasio


"One of the important disciplines that is generating new knowledge about human nature is primatology. Frans de Waal is the best-qualified scientist not just to describe the results of this research, but to draw out a balanced understanding of what it implies about contemporary politics and social policy."
- Francis Fukuyama


Starred! Kirkus Review:
"Apes are our nearest relatives, and we have far more in common with them than we realize.

"De Waal has made a career of studying chimpanzees and bonobos, the two species closest to us on the evolutionary family tree. Many years of watching apes interacting--and paying close attention to individual apes--have revealed just how much of human nature arises from pre-human roots. We all recognize and mock the "animal" behavior of politicians and media stars ruled by the drives for sex and power. Chimpanzees are past masters of political infighting, and the easy sexuality of a bonobo tribe might make a Roman orgy seem sedate. But empathy and compassion are also part of our primate heritage, de Waal argues, offering plentiful examples--both anecdotal and rigorous--from his studies to support his point. He saw one zoo chimpanzee carry a stunned bird to the top of a tree and toss it in the air, trying to help it fly away. A chimpanzee mother, when the author showed an interest in her baby, carefully turned it around so the research could see its face. These and other observations show, he believes, that apes have the ability to see things from the point of view of others. The strong sense of community in a tribe of apes also appears to have a parallel in human groups--especially those living in small towns where everyone knows their neighbors. While the strongest ape usually rules his tribe, it is common for others to form alliances to resist a tyrant. De Waal extrapolates convincingly from his observations, many of which will surprise readers who think of apes as stupid brutes.

"Fascinating and enlightening: It's hard not to conclude that, in many ways, apes may be wiser than their upright relatives."

Starred! Publishers Weekly review:
"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."

Nature, September 1, 2005:
By Robert Sapolsky: "[An] excellent book for the public ..This is a rarity, a superb scientist producing an excellent book for non-specialists ... De Waal covers [his topic] with great wisdom and subtlety . . . This should be required reading for the opinionated cousins (or better yet, world leaders) whose ancient encounters with Robert Ardrey or Konrad Lorenz have led them to believe what kind of ape we are."


The Raleigh News & Observer selects the best science books of the year 2005 to provide readers with Christmas gift suggestions ( --> Our Inner Ape: From his many in-depth studies of chimpanzees and bonobos, de Waal produces the fascinating hypothesis that “the building blocks of morality clearly predate humanity.” Thus, he argues, morality, “our noblest achievement,” did not spring from reason or from the pens of philosophers. It did not come from culture or religion; morality is a gift from our primate ancestors.


Reviews of Previous Books:


New York Times Book Review (subscription)

Smithsonian (subscription)

London Review of Books

Voice of America

San Francisco Chronicle

USA Today

American Scientist -1

American Scientist -2


New Statesman