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Mama's Last Hug : Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves
by Frans de Waal


Overview -

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.  Read more...


 
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More About Mama's Last Hug by Frans de Waal
 
 
 
Overview

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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780393635065
  • ISBN-10: 0393635066
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish Date: March 2019
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Science > Life Sciences - Zoology - General
Books > Nature > Animals - General
Books > Psychology > Emotions

 
BookPage Reviews

Mama's Last Hug

In 2016, the 80-year-old biologist Jan van Hooff visited his old friend Mama, a dying 59-year-old chimpanzee matriarch. Their videotaped emotional reunion was seen around the world. In Mama’s Last Hug, Frans de Waal begins with that endearing goodbye, then dives into his decades of experience studying our fellow hominids.

With wit and scholarly perspicacity, the renowned primatologist and ethologist offers an abundant study of animal and human emotions, urging a kinder, gentler approach to those with whom we share our planet, from apes and rats to plants and single-cell organisms. Citing a wealth of experiments and studies, the genial scientist raises new awareness of our shared evolutionary history and suggests that a strictly behavioral model is no longer accurate or adequate. In fact, de Waal writes, previous theoretical constructs were largely based on assumptions (made by men) about male dominance. The matriarchal society of bonobos offers a conflicting example. These primate hippies make more love than war and are pros at peacemaking. Perhaps we humans are more like them—or should be.

Chief among de Waal’s studies are animal emotions: who has them, how they work and why humans should care. De Waal provides examples of a full range of emotions experienced by our fellow hominids like empathy, sympathy, disgust, shame, guilt, fear and forgiveness. He proves that rats enjoy being tickled; chimps and elephants can console, conspire and retaliate; and plants release toxic scents to protect against predatory insects.

We are all animals, de Waal reminds us, and he has provided a rich perspective on—and an urgent invitation to reconsider—every aspect of life around us. 

 
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