Today, October 29, marks the 73rd anniversary of the famous primatologist and ethologist, author of popular science bestsellers about animals, head of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta Frans de Waal.
Frans de Waal is known for his studies of the cognitive abilities of higher primates, the study of their social life, and much more. One of the most popular books of the scientist – Chimpanzee Politics – is held in high esteem not only by the scientific community, but also by politicians, businessmen, and major corporations. Frans de Waal showed how we are similar to other higher primates and how social roles, and even political games, are implemented in the chimpanzee community. In another famous book Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are, the scientist shows how illusory the line that separates our intelligence from that of animals actually is.
The primatologist’s research interests lie in the field of a complex system of social relations; in particular, cooperation in animals, as well as in the field of the origin of morality and the manifestation of empathy, but are not limited to these topics.
Frans de Waal is included in Time 100, the listicle of the 100 most influential people in the world (2007). The scientist is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a psychology professor at Emory University and an honorary professor at Utrecht University. In addition, Frans de Waal is the recipient of the prestigious Candler Scholarship.
In 2012, Frans de Waal and his colleague Jennifer Pokorny received the Ig Nobel Prize for the discovery that chimpanzees can recognize each other not only by “face,” but also by photographs of the bottom.