Frans de Waal


Primatologist Frans de Waal looks at the “alpha male,” exploring the human desire for hierarchy and power while finding surprising parallels between how humans and primates choose our leaders. 


Dutch/American biologist and ethologist Frans de Waal draws parallels between primate and human behavior, from peacemaking and morality to culture. Looking at human society through the lens of animal behavior, Frans' first book, Chimpanzee Politics (1982), compares the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. Named one of the 100 Most Influential People Today by Time Magazine, Frans has written hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific articles, and his popular books have been translated in over 20 languages. He is a professor in Emory University's psychology department and Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, in Atlanta. His next book is on animal and human emotions, entitled Mama's Last Hug (Norton, 2019).


Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes, 1982. 

Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved, 2006. 

The Bonobo and the Atheist, 2013.

The Brains of the Animal KingdomThe Wall Street Journal2013. 

Moral behavior in animals at TEDxPeachtree.

What I learned from tickling apes, NYT, 2016.

Frans de Waal on chimpanzees, BBC, 2016.

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Biologist and Primatologist