Frans de Waal-Mama's Last Hug: Animal and Human Emotions

Frans de Waal

Bio

Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal is a Dutch/American biologist and primatologist known for his work on the behavior and social intelligence of primates. In his first book, Chimpanzee Politics, he compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. His scientific work has been published in hundreds of technical articles in journals such as Science, Nature, Scientific American, and outlets specialized in animal behavior. His popular books–translated into more than 20 languages–have made him one of the world’s most visible primatologists. His latest books are Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are? and Mama’s Last Hug. De Waal is C. H. Candler Professor in the Psychology Department of Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He was selected in 2007 by Time as one of The Worlds’ 100 Most Influential People Today.

Sessions

Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves

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.

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Mama's Last Hug: Animal and Human Emotions

Mama’s Last Hug opens with the dramatic farewell between Mama, a dying fifty-nine-year-old chimpanzee matriarch, and biologist Jan Van Hooff. This heartfelt final meeting of two longtime friends, widely shared as a video, offers a window into how deep and instantly recognizable these bonds can be. So begins Frans de Waal’s whirlwind tour of new ideas and findings about animal emotions, based on his renowned studies of the social and emotional lives of chimpanzees, bonobos, and other primates. De Waal discusses facial expressions, animal sentience and consciousness, Mama’s life and death, the emotional side of human politics, and the illusion of free will. He distinguishes between emotions and feelings, all the while emphasizing the continuity between our species and other species. And he makes 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. BUY THIS BOOK!

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