Saturday, August 5, 2006

Our Inner Ape

Maclean's: Canada's Weekly Newsmagazine asked me to recommend a book for this summer. My pick appears on page 83 of the August 14, 2006, double issue, now on sale. Here's what I had to say:

Summer is the perfect time for people watching -- on the beach, at the mall, in the park. Nothing makes that more entertaining than recognizing the basic primate behaviour and mannerism that we exhibit in group situations, in interactions with members of our own gender, and when dealing with those of the opposite sex.

Our Inner Ape by Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal -- just out in paperback [from Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin] after a successful run in hardcover -- lets you see the hidden chimp, bonobo, gorilla, and orangutan lurking in the background of everything we hairless apes do.

Given all the headlines about evolution vs. intelligent design, it's fascinating to reflect on exactly what it means to share a common ancestor with the great apes. Witty, charming, and deeply compassionate, de Waal enlightens while he entertains.


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