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New York Times best-selling author and primatologist Frans de Waal explores the fascinating world of animal and human emotions.

Frans de Waal has spent four decades at the forefront of animal research. Following up on the best-selling Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, which investigated animal intelligence, Mama's Last Hug delivers a fascinating exploration of the rich emotional lives of animals.

Mama's Last Hug begins with the death of Mama, a chimpanzee matriarch who formed a deep bond with biologist Jan van Hooff. When Mama was dying, van Hooff took the unusual step of visiting her in her night cage for a last hug. Their goodbyes were filmed and went viral. Millions of people were deeply moved by the way Mama embraced the professor, welcoming him with a big smile while reassuring him by patting his neck, in a gesture often considered typically human but that is in fact common to all primates. This story and others like it form the core of de Waal's argument, showing that humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, fear, shame, guilt, joy, disgust, and empathy.

De Waal discusses facial expressions, the emotions behind human politics, the illusion of free will, animal sentience, and, of course, Mama's life and death. The message is one of continuity between us and other species, such as the radical proposal that emotions are like organs: we don't have a single organ that other animals don't have, and the same is true for our emotions. Mama's Last Hug opens our hearts and minds to the many ways in which humans and other animals are connected, transforming how we view the living world around us.

16 pages of black and white illustrations



About the Author

Frans De Waal

I am a Dutch/American biologist, born in the Netherlands in 1948, having lived in the USA since 1981. My passion is primate behavior, and the comparison between primate and human behavior. I pursue the first as a scientist and the second as a writer of popular books. For me, there is nothing more logical than to look at human society through the lens of animal behavior.

I have a Ph. D. in zoology and ethology (the study of animal behavior) from the University of Utrecht, and now teach Psychology at Emory University, in Atlanta. My first book, "Chimpanzee Politics," compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. The book even reached the reading list of the congress in Washington. Ever since, I have drawn parallels between primate and human behavior, from aggression to morality and culture.

With my wife, Catherine, and our cats, we live in a forested area near Smoke Rise, in Georgia, a state we love. My daily work consists of teaching and research, which I do at America's oldest and largest primate center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. I direct the Living Links Center there, which specializes in behavioral studies of monkeys and apes, mostly on social behavior and intelligence, so as to better understand human evolution. We do much of our work at a field station, outside of Atlanta, where the primates live in large open-air enclosures. All studies we conduct are behavioral and non-invasive. Our website offers videos, press releases, blogs, and so on: www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS

Since childhood, I have been an animal lover, and in fact -- even though my career has focused on primate behavior -- I am very much interested in all sorts of animals, including fish and birds, but also elephants and dolphins. My latest book on animal intelligence (Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? ) reflects this broader interest, as it covers many different species.

For more on my background, please check out the following website:
http://www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS/bonobo_atheist/author1.shtml



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