Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes

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9780060151133: Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes

This extraordinary account of schmoozing, scheming, and consensus building among the chimpanzees of a large zoo colony in Arnhem, The Netherlands, attracted attention. Throughout this revised edition - which features a new gallery of color photographs along with a new introduction and epilogue - de Waal expands and updates his story of the Arnhem colony and its continuing political upheavals. We learn the fate of many memorable characters and meet the colony's current leaders and their allies. The new edition remains a detailed and thoroughly engrossing account - of sexual rivalries and coalitions, of actions governed by intelligence rather than instinct - and it reaffirms the complex bond between humans and their closest living relatives. As we watch the chimpanzees of Arnhem behave in ways we recognize from Machiavelli (and from the nightly news), de Waal reminds us again that the roots of politics are older than humanity.

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Review:

The great apes, like humans, can recognize themselves in mirrors. They communicate by sound and gesture, form bands along what can only be called political lines, and sometimes engage in what is very clearly organized warfare. (Less frequently, too, they practice cannibalism.) In Chimpanzee Politics Frans de Waal, a longtime student of simian behavior, analyzes the behavior of a captive tribe of chimpanzees, comparing its actions with those of ape societies in the wild. What he finds is often not pleasant: chimps seem capable of astonishing deviousness and savagery, which has obvious implications for the behavior their human cousins sometimes exhibit.

About the Author:

Frans de Waal is the C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University in Atlanta and the director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center. His books include The Ape and the Sushi Master; Peacemaking among Primates; and Our Inner Ape.

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Published by Harpercollins (1983)
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