"Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are?" With Frans de Waal

Sep 15, 2017

This episode originally was broadcast in March, 2017.

Humans think, feel and plan for the future. We say hello, and goodbye. We design and use tools to our advantage. But what if animals can do these things, too? What if we’ve just never really understood how to discern animal intelligence? Biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal challenges us to think more like an animal in his new book, “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?”

Mr de Waal is best known for his work on the behavior and social intelligence of primates. His first book, “Chimpanzee Politics” compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. Ever since, Dr. de Waal has drawn parallels between primate and human behavior, from peacemaking and morality to culture.

Frans de Waal is the C. H. Candler Professor in the Psychology Department of Emory University, and Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He is the author of numerous books, and his scientific work has been published in hundreds of technical articles in journals such as Science, Nature and Scientific American.  In 2007, he was selected by Time magazine as one of The World’s 100 Most Influential People, and in 2011 by Discover magazine as among the 47 All Time Great Minds of Science.