Ape and the Sushi Master: Reflections of a Primatologist / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 37%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 89%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (41) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $6.98   
  • Used (33) from $1.99   


What if apes had their own culture rather than an imposed human version? What if they reacted to situations with behavior learned through observation of their elders (culture) rather than with pure genetically coded instinct (nature)? In answering these questions, eminent primatologist Frans de Waal corrects our arrogant assumption that humans are the only creatures to have made the leap from the natural to the cultural domain.The book's title derives from an analogy de Waal draws between the way behavior is transmitted in ape society and the way sushi-making skills are passed down from sushi master to apprentice. Like the apprentice, young apes watch their group mates at close range, absorbing the methods and lessons of each of their elders' actions. Responses long thought to be instinctive are actually learned behavior, de Waal argues, and constitute ape culture.A delightful mix of intriguing anecdote, rigorous clinical study, adventurous field work, and fascinating speculation, The Ape and the Sushi Master shows that apes are not human caricatures but members of our extended family with their own resourcefulness and dignity.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Frans de Waal, the renowned primatologist, advanced significant arguments on the capabilities of our closest relatives and what this says about the human animal in previous books such as Good Natured and Chimpanzee Politics. In this book geared toward a general audience, de Waal argues that apes do have their own culture, passed down through generations through learning.
Los Angeles Time Book Review
De Waal is one of our clearest science writers.. .
Douglas Foster
. . .a remarkable journey of discovery to the heart of a profound question: what can we learn about the evolution of our own cultures by studying the behavior of our primate cousins? He broaches the possibility that generous ''helping responses,'' observed among animals reliant on close-knit relationships, have evolved into something more refined -- authentically unselfish behavior. If he's right, this book is a step toward outlining the evolution of our own moral codes.
Not only does de Waal clear away layers of misconceptions in The Ape and the Sushi Master, but along the way he robs us of cheap laughs. ''Bush or Chimp?'' and ''The Chimp Channel'' just won't look the same after exposure to this deftly written, deeply reflective work.
New York Times Book Review
Washington Post
Absorbing and entertaining...explaining to the interested lay person more clearly than any other book the sound science that lies in the middle of the sometimes shrill debate about the origins of human nature.
Los Angeles Times
De Waal is one of our clearest science writers.
New York Times Book Review
[A] remarkable journey of discovery to the heart of a profound question: what can we learn about the evolution of our own cultures by studying the behavior of our primate cousins? [A] deftly written, deeply reflective work.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A very thoughtful essay.... He writes in a style somewhat like that of Stephen Jay Gould, bringing often complex questions of behavioral research into the ken of thoughtful lay people.
Toronto Globe & Mail
Clear, elegant prose.... Read de Waal for history and theory, a good grounding in the basics.
John Gribbin
[A]bsorbing and entertaining. . . —Washington Post Book World1]
Science News
Esteemed primatologist de Waal strikes another blow against human uniqueness as he asserts that other animals also possess culture.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though evidence suggests that animals can teach skills to members of their group, appreciate aesthetics and express empathy, Western scientists are often reluctant to interpret such behavior in cultural terms, claims zoologist and ethologist de Waal (Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes and Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape). "Our culture and dominant religion have tied human dignity and self-worth to our separation from nature and distinctness from other animals," he writes, arguing that this dualism prevents us from recognizing how similar human and animal behavior can be. De Waal cites fascinating examples of animals acting in ways typically thought the exclusive purview of humans (apes that enjoy creating paintings or engaging in nonreproductive sexual activity; rescue dogs that become depressed when they find only corpses). Inspired by the work of Japanese primatologist Kinji Imanishi, whose cultural tradition emphasizes interconnectedness among living things, de Waal argues for an end to the West's anthropocentric bias in science. De Waal prefers a "Darwistotelian" approach, which would seek "to understand humanity in the wider context of nature" and build a concept of human identity "around how we are animals that have taken certain capacities a significant step farther" than have other species. Lucid and engaging, though at times loosely focused, de Waal's "reflections" will likely capture the attention not only of zoologists and social scientists but of animal-rights advocates as well. Agent, Elizabeth Ziemska. (Mar. 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Zoo visitors tend to anthropomorphize the actions of the animals they observe. This bias, de Waal points out, is an inherent problem in the study of animal behavior. Noted primatologist de Waal relies on his background of studying chimpanzee behavior (Chimpanzee Politics), and his early following in the footsteps of ethologist Konrad Lorenz, as an anecdotal basis for this entertaining history of ethology. De Waal moves ethology through the stages of viewing animals as soulless creatures, through the "one behavior fits all" mentality, to the current speculation that each species has its own unique behavioral patterns. Ultimately, de Waal shows not only how we see animals but also how we see ourselves as he pokes holes in the theory that man is set apart from the rest of nature by "culture." For academic and larger public libraries. Raymond Hamel, Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Ctr. Lib., Madison Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Waal (primate behavior, Emory U.) blends autobiographical stories, research findings, and speculation relating to the life of apes. Suggesting that apes can learn culture and are not confined to genetic instinct, he explores the details of social transmission. He also examines how human culture affects the way we look at other animals. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
Humans have no monopoly on culture or ethics, argues a respected expert on our animal cousins. De Waal (Bonobo, 1997, etc.) supports his point with such examples as Japanese monkeys that wash sweet potatoes in salt water to enhance the flavor, a"custom" observed nowhere else in the world, and traceable to a single simian innovator a few decades ago. Such behavior can only be described as cultural, in the sense of being transmitted by example within the social group rather than inherently determined by the genes. Similar instances are numerous, and not just among the primates. Songbirds have local dialects, often based on the performances of"master singers" in their region. Likewise, observations of captive apes have often shown that a particular grooming practice originates with one individual and gradually spreads to the whole troop. Bonobos, the apes perhaps closest genetically to humans, have been seen offering sex in exchange for food. Most of these insights into animal culture have come in recent decades, when western zoologists began to adopt the methods of their Japanese peers, in particular learning to identify and follow individual animals. De Waal suggests that the Asian scientists were able to adopt this approach because their intellectual heritage does not assume, as western culture does, a rigid barrier between humans and animals. Likewise, the once-dominant behaviorist model of mental function, which not only ignores distinctions between individual animals, but considers a result based on bird behavior equivalent to one gathered from mammals, is portrayed here as a peculiarly western aberration. De Waal mixes evocative anecdotes and musings on methodology and philosophywitha sure hand; the reader is likely to come away convinced by his insights. An extremely well-written, highly provocative discussion of the origins and meaning of culture.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465041763
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Edition description: First Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 1,482,784
  • Product dimensions: 5.33 (w) x 7.95 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Frans B. M. de Waal, Ph.D. is the C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center. He is one of the world's leading primate behavior experts. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Whole Animal

Childhood Talismans
and Excessive Fear
of Anthropomorphism

"Why do I tell you this little boy's story of medusas, rays, and sea monsters, nearly sixty years after the fact? Because it illustrates, I think, how a naturalist is created. A child comes to the edge of deep water with a mind prepared for wonder. He is given a compelling image that will serve in later life as a talisman, transmitting a powerful energy that directs the growth of experience and knowledge."
Edward O. Wilson, 1995

"Fear of the dangers of anthropomorphism has caused ethologists to neglect many interesting phenomena, and it has become apparent that they could afford a little disciplined indulgence."
Robert Hinde, 1982

Scientists are supposed to study animals in a totally objective fashion, similar to the way we inspect a rock or measure the circumference of a tree trunk. Emotions are not to interfere with the assessment. The animal-rights movement capitalizes on this perception, depicting scientists as devoid of compassion.

    Some scientists have proudly broken with the mold. Roger Fouts, known for his work with language-trained chimpanzees, says in Next of Kin: "I had to break the first commandment of the behavioral sciences: Thou shalt not love thy research subject." Similarly, Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy, in When Elephants Weep, make it seem that very few scientists appreciate the emotionallivesof animals.

    In reality, the image of the unloving and unfeeling scientist is a caricature, a straw man erected by those wishing to pat themselves on the back for having their hearts in the right place. Unfeeling scientists do exist, but the majority take great pleasure in their animals. If one reads the books of Konrad Lorenz, Robert Yerkes, Bernd Heinrich, Ken Norris, Jane Goodall, Cynthia Moss, Edward Wilson, and so on, it becomes impossible to maintain that animals are invariably studied with a cold, callous eye.

    I have met many other scientists who may not write in the same popular style—and who may not dwell on their feelings, considering them irrelevant to their research—but for whom the frogs, budgerigars, cichlid fish, bats, or whatever animals they specialize in hold a deep attraction. How could it be otherwise? Can you really imagine a scientist going out every day to capture and mark wild prairie voles—getting bitten by the voles, stung by insects, drenched by rain—without some deeper motivation than the pursuit of scientific truth? Think of what it takes to study penguins on the pack ice of the Antarctic, or bonobos in hot and humid jungles overrun by armed rebels. Equally, researchers who study animals in captivity really need to like what they are doing. Care of their subjects is a round-the-clock business, and animals smell and produce waste—which some of my favorite animals don't mind hurling at you—something most of us hardly think about until we get visitors who hold their noses and try to escape as fast as they can.

    I would turn the stereotype of the unfeeling scientist around and say that it is the rare investigator who is not at some level attached to the furry, feathered, or slippery creatures he or she works with. The maestro of observation, Konrad Lorenz, didn't believe one could effectively investigate an animal that one didn't love. Because our intuitive understanding of animals is based on human emotions and a sense of connection with animals, he wrote in The Foundations of Ethology (1981) that understanding seems quite separate from the methodology of the natural sciences. To marry intuitive insight with systematic data collection is both the challenge and the joy of the study of animal behavior.

    Attraction to animals makes us forget the time spent watching them, and it sensitizes us to the tiniest details of behavior. The scientific mind uses the information thus gathered to formulate penetrating questions that lead to more precise research. But let us not forget that things did not start out with a scientific interest: the lifeblood of our science is a fascination with nature. This always comes first, usually early in life. Thus, Wilson's career as a naturalist began in Alabama, where as a boy—in an apparent attempt to show that not all human behavior is adaptive—he used his bare hands to pull poisonous snakes from the water. Lorenz opened his autobiographical notes for the Nobel Committee with "I consider early childhood events as most essential to a man's scientific and philosophical development." And Goodall first realized that she was born to watch animals when, at the age of five, she entered a chicken coop in the English countryside to find out how eggs were made.

    Closeness to animals creates the desire to understand them, and not just a little piece of them, but the whole animal. It makes us wonder what goes on in their heads even though we fully realize that the answer can only be approximated. We employ all available weapons in this endeavor, including extrapolations from human behavior. Consequently, anthropomorphism is not only inevitable, it is a powerful tool. As summed up by Italian philosopher Emanuela Cenami Spada:

Anthropomorphism is a risk we must run, because we must refer to our own human experience in order to formulate questions about animal experience.... The only available "cure" is the continuous critique of our working definitions in order to provide more adequate answers to our questions, and to that embarrassing problem that animals present to us.

    The "embarrassing problem" hinted at is, of course, that we see ourselves as distinct from other animals yet cannot deny the abundant similarities. There are basically two solutions to this problem. One is to downplay the similarities, saying that they are superficial or present only in our imagination. The second solution is to assume that similarities, especially among related species, are profound, reflecting a shared evolutionary past. According to the first position, anthropomorphism is to be avoided at all cost, whereas the second position sees anthropomorphism as a logical starting point when it comes to animals as close to us as apes.

    Being a proponent of the second position creates a dilemma for an empiricist such as myself. I am not at all attracted to cheap projections onto animals, of the sort that people indulge who see eats as having shame (a very complex emotion), horses as taking pride in their performance, or gorillas as contemplating the afterlife. My first reaction is to ask for observables: things that can be measured. In this sense, I am a cold, skeptical scientist. With my team of students and technicians, I watch primates for hundreds of hours before a study is completed, entering codes of observed behavior into handheld computers. We also conduct experiments in which chimpanzees handle joysticks to select solutions to problems on a computer screen. Or we have monkeys operate an apparatus that allows them to pull food toward themselves, after which we see how willing they are to share the rewards with those who assisted them.

    All of this research serves to produce evidence for or against certain assumptions. At the same time that I am committed to data collection, however, I argue for breathing space in relation to cognitive interpretations, don't mind drawing comparisons with human behavior, and wonder how and why anthropomorphism got such a bad name. Anthropomorphism has proven its value in the service of good, solid science. The widely applied vocabulary of animal behavior, such as "aggression," "fear," "dominance," "courtship," "play," "alarm," and "bonding," has been borrowed straight from language intended for human behavior. It is doubtful that scientists from outer space, with no shared background to guide their thinking, would ever have come up with such a rich and useful array of concepts to understand animals. To recognize these functional categories is the part of our job that comes without training and usually builds upon long-standing familiarity with pets, farm animals, birds, bugs, and other creatures.

    In my own case it began with a love for aquatic life.

Zigzag through the Polder

Almost every Saturday when I was a boy, I jumped on my bike to go to the polder, a Dutch word for low-lying land reclaimed from the water. Bordering the Maas River, our polder was dissected by freshwater ditches full of salamanders, frogs, stickleback fish, young eels, and water insects. Carrying a crudely constructed net—a charcoal sieve attached to a broomstick—I would jump over ditches, occasionally sliding into them, to get to the best spots to catch what I wanted. I returned in a perilous zigzag, balancing a heavy bucket of water and animals in one hand while steering my bike with the other. Back home, I would release my booty in glass containers and tanks, adding plants and food, such as water fleas caught with a net made out of one of my mother's old stockings.

    Initially, the mortality in my little underwater worlds was nothing to brag about. I learned only gradually that salamanders don't eat things that don't move, that big fish shouldn't be kept with little ones, and that overfeeding does more harm than good. I also became aware of the ferocious, sneaky predation by dragonfly larvae. My animals started to live longer. Then one day—I must have been around twelve—I noticed a dramatic color change in one of my sticklebacks in a neglected tank with unchecked algae growth. Within days, the fish turned from silvery to sky blue with a fiery red underbelly. A plain little fish had metamorphosed into a dazzling peacock! I was astonished and spent every free minute staring into the aquarium, which I didn't clean on the assumption that perhaps the fish liked it better that way.

    This is how I first saw the famous courtship behavior of the three-spined stickleback. The two females in the tank grew heavy bellies full of roe, while the male built a nest out of plant material in the sand. He repeatedly interrupted his hard work by performing a little dance aimed at the females, which took place closer to the nest site each time. I did not understand everything that was going on, but I did notice that the females suddenly lost their eggs, whereupon the male started moving his fins rapidly (I later learned that his fanning served to create a current to send additional oxygen over the eggs). I ended up with a tank full of fry. It was an exhilarating experience, but one that I had to enjoy all by myself. Although my family tolerated my interests, they simply could not get excited about a bunch of tiny fish in one of my tanks.

    I had a similar experience years later, when I was a biology student at the University of Nijmegen. In a welcome departure from the usual emphasis on physiology and molecular biology, one professor gave a lecture on ethology—the naturalistic study of animal behavior—featuring detailed drawings of the so-called zigzag dance of the stickleback. Because of the work of Niko Tinbergen, a Dutch zoologist, the stickleback's display had become a textbook example. The drawings of my professor were wonderful, showing the male pushing out his red belly, with spines pointing outward, then leading the female to the nest while performing abrupt back-and-forth movements in front of her. When I nudged my fellow students, excitedly telling them that I knew all this, that anyone could see it in a small aquarium at home, once again I met with blank stares. Why should they believe me, and what was the big deal about fish behavior, anyway? Didn't I know the future was in biochemistry?

    A few years later, Tinbergen received a Nobel Prize: the stickleback had won! By that time, however, I had already moved to Groningen, a university where ethology was taken more seriously. I now study the behavior of monkeys and apes. This may seem incongruent given my early interests, but I have never had a fixation on a particular animal group. There simply weren't too many chimpanzees in the polder; otherwise I would have brought them home as well.

    One thing bothered me as a student. In the 1960s, human behavior was totally off limits for the biologist. There was animal behavior, then there was a long time nothing, after which came human behavior as a totally separate category best left to a different group of scientists. This way we kept the peace, because the other scientists were—to borrow a concept from animal behavior—pretty territorial. Popular books by Desmond Morris (The Naked Ape) and Lorenz (On Aggression) were extremely controversial because they voiced continuity between human and animal behavior. If young students of animal behavior now look down upon these authors, seeing themselves as far more sophisticated, they forget how much they owe them for knocking down the walls well before the sociobiological revolution came along. I wasn't able to judge the scientific merit of their work then, but something about these ethologists felt absolutely right: they saw humans as animals. It is only in reading them that I realized that this was the way I had felt for as long as I could remember.

Pecking Orders in Oslo

It is hard to name a single discovery in animal behavior that has had a greater impact and enjoys wider name recognition than the "pecking order." Even if pecking is not exactly a human behavior, the term is ubiquitous in modern society. In speaking of the corporate pecking order, or the pecking order at the Vatican (with "primates" on top!), we acknowledge both inequalities and their ancient origins. We also slightly mock the structure, hinting that we, sophisticated human beings that we are, share a few things with domestic fowl.

    The momentous discovery of rank orders in nature was made at the beginning of the twentieth century by a Norwegian boy, Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe, who fell in love with chickens at the tender age of six. He was so enthralled by these sociable birds that his mother bought him his own flock at a rented house outside of Oslo. Soon each bird had a name. By the age of ten, Thorleif was keeping detailed notebooks, which he maintained for many years. Apart from keeping track of how many eggs his chickens laid, and who pecked whom, he was particularly interested in exceptions to the hierarchy, so called "triangles," in which hen A is master over B, and B over C, but C over A. So, from the start, like a real scientist, he was interested in not only the regularities but also the irregularities of the rank order. The social organization that he discovered is now so obvious to us that we cannot imagine how anyone could have missed it, but no one had described it before.

    The rest is history, as they say, but not a particularly pretty one. The irony is that the discoverer of the pecking order was himself a henpecked man. Thorleif the boy had a very domineering mother, and later in life he ran into major trouble with the very first woman professor of Norway. She supported him initially, but as an anatomist she had no real interest in his work.

    After Sehjelderup-Ebbe received a degree in zoology, he published the chicken observations of his youth while coining the term Hackordnung, German for pecking order. His classic paper, which appeared in 1922, describes dominants as "despots" and demonstrates the elegance of hierarchical arrangements in which every individual has its place. Knowing the rank order among 12 hens, one knows the dominance relation in all 66 possible pairs of individuals, It is easy to see the incredible economy of description, and to understand the discoverer's obsession with triangles, which compromise this economy.

    At about the time that the young zoologist wanted to continue his studies, however, a malicious but well-written piece in a student paper made fun of his professor. An enemy then spread the rumor that the anonymous piece had been written by Schjelderup-Ebbe, who was indeed a gifted writer. Even though the piece was actually written by Sigurd Hoel, later to become one of Norway's foremost novelists, irreparable damage had been done to the relationship with his professor. She withdrew all support and became an active foe. As a result of lifelong intrigues against him, Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe never obtained a Norwegian doctorate, and never received the recognition he deserved.

    Regardless of this sad ending, the beginning of the story goes to show how a child who takes animals seriously, who considers them worthy of individual recognition, and who assumes that they are not randomly running around but, like us, lead orderly lives, can discover things that the greatest scientists have missed. This quality of the child, of unhesitatingly accepting kinship with animals, was remarked upon by Sigmund Freud:

Children show no trace of the arrogance which urges adult civilized men to draw a hard-and-fast line between their own nature and that of all other animals. Children have no scruples over allowing animals to rank as their full equals. Uninhibited as they are in the avowal of their bodily needs, they no doubt feel themselves more akin to animals than to their elders, who may well be a puzzle to them.

    The intuitive connection children feel with animals can be a tremendous source of joy. The unconditional love received from pets, and the lack of artifice in the relationship, contrast sharply with the much trickier dealings with members of their own species. I had an animal friend like this when I was young; I still think fondly of the neighbors' big dog, who was often by my side, showing interest in everything I did or said. The child's closeness to animals is fed by adults with anthropomorphic animal stories, fairy tales, and animated movies. Thus, a bond is fostered with all living things that is critically examined only later in life. As explained by the late Paul Shepard, who like no one else reflected on humanity's place in nature:

Especially at the end of puberty, the end of innocence, we begin a lifelong work of differentiating ourselves from them [animals]. But this grows from an earlier, unbreakable foundation of contiguity. Alternatively, a rigorous insistence of ourselves simply as different denies the shared underpinnings and destroys a deeper sense of cohesion that sustains our sanity and keeps our world from disintegrating. Anthropomorphism binds our continuity with the rest of the natural world. It generates our desire to identify with them and learn their natural history, even though it is motivated by a fantasy that they are no different from ourselves.

    In this last sentence, Shepard hints at a more mature anthropomorphism in which the human viewpoint is replaced, however imperfectly, by the animal's. As we shall see, it is precisely this "animalcentric" anthropomorphism that is not only acceptable but of great value in science.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Apes' Tea Party 1
Section 1 Cultural Glasses: The Way We See Other Animals 35
1 The Whole Animal: Childhood Talismans and Excessive Fear of Anthropomorphism 37
2 The Fate of Gurus: When Silverbacks Become Stumbling Blocks 85
3 Bonobos and Fig Leaves: Primate Hippies in a Puritan Landscape 127
4 Animal Art: Would You Hang a Congo on the Wall? 149
Section 2 What Is Culture, and Does It Exist in Nature? 177
5 Predicting Mount Fuji, and a Visit to Koshima, Where the Monkeys Salt Their Potatoes 179
6 The Last Rubicon: Can Other Animals Have Culture? 213
7 The Nutcracker Suite: Reliance on Culture in Nature 239
8 Cultural Naturals: Tea and Tibetan Macaques 273
Section 3 Human Nature: The Way We See Ourselves 295
9 Apes with Self-Esteem: Abraham Maslow and the Taboo on Power 297
10 Survival of the Kindest: Of Selfish Genes and Unselfish Dogs 315
11 Down with Dualism! Two Millennia of Debate About Human Goodness 337
Epilogue: The Squirrel's Jump 359
Notes 365
Bibliography 389
Acknowledgments 407
Index 411
Read More Show Less

Interviews & Essays

Exclusive Barnes & Noble.com Author Essay

My Double Life

My first taste for popularization came in the 1970s when I worked at the Arnhem Zoo, in the Netherlands. For years, I addressed organized groups of zoo visitors, including lawyers, housewives, university students, psychotherapists, police academies, bird-watchers, and so on. There is no better sounding board for a would-be popularizer. The visitors would yawn at some of the hottest academic issues but react with recognition and fascination to basic chimpanzee psychology that I had begun to take for granted. I learned that the only way to tell my story was to bring the individual chimpanzees to life and pay attention to actual events rather than the abstractions that scientists are so fond of.

Writing popular science books is both a pleasure and an obligation. It is a pleasure, because one writes under fewer constraints than in scientific articles that leave no room for an anecdote here and a speculation there. Peer-reviewed journal articles aren't always fun to produce.

There is a need for popularization. This is where the obligation comes in: Someone needs to explain to the larger audience what the field is all about. This may be hard for some disciplines, such as chemistry or mathematics, but if one works with monkeys and apes, as I do, it is a thankful, easy task. Like us, these animals live in soap operas of family affairs and power politics, so that all one needs to do is dig into their personal lives while attaching whatever scientific messages one wishes to discuss. People relate very easily to primate behavior and do so for the right reasons: The similarities with their own experiences are striking and fundamental.

And so, I began to lead a double life early on in my career. On the one hand, I am now a university professor and scientist who needs to write papers and obtain grants. At the same time, I am a popularizer who tries to see the bigger picture. Initially, I mainly communicated about my own work -- such as in Chimpanzee Politics and Peacemaking Among Primates -- but more and more my writings cover the work of others. My later books, such as Bonobo, Good Natured, and my most recent book, The Ape and the Sushi Master, are good examples: My own studies constitute only a fraction of what is going on in the field of primatology.

My mission in The Ape and the Sushi Master is to abolish the traditional Western dualisms between human and animal, body and mind, and especially culture and nature. I don't know why I am so fundamentally opposed to these dualisms -- many other scientists fervently embrace them. It must have something to do with how close or distant one thinks one is to animals. At the very least -- even if I won't convince everyone -- I hope to make my readers reflect on where these attitudes come from: how they are tied to human self-perception shaped by culture and religion.

--Frans de Waal

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)