In 1838 Charles Darwin jotted in a notebook, "He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke." Baboon Metaphysics is Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth's fascinating response to Darwin's challenge.
Cheney and Seyfarth set up camp in Botswana's Okavango Delta, where they could intimately observe baboons and their social world. Baboons live in groups of up to 150, including a handful of males and eight or nine matrilineal families of females. Such numbers force baboons to form a complicated mix of short-term bonds for mating and longer-term friendships based on careful calculations of status and individual need.
But Baboon Metaphysics is concerned with much more than just baboons' social organization--Cheney and Seyfarth aim to fully comprehend the intelligence that underlies it. Using innovative field experiments, the authors learn that for baboons, just as for humans, family and friends hold the key to mitigating the ill effects of grief, stress, and anxiety.
Written with a scientist's precision and a nature-lover's eye, Baboon Metaphysics gives us an unprecedented and compelling glimpse into the mind of another species.
"The vivid narrative is like a bush detective story."--Steven Poole, Guardian
A second volume of letters by the renowned scientist chronicles her greatest triumphs and deepest tragedies, including her major discoveries about chimpanzee behvior, the breakup of her marriage to Hugo van Lawick, the birth and raising of her son, and her marriage to Derek Bryceson and his death. Reprint.
This remarkable primate with the curious name is challenging established views on human evolution. The bonobo, least known of the great apes, is a female-centered, egalitarian species that has been dubbed the make-love-not-war primate by specialists. In bonobo society, females form alliances to intimidate males, sexual behavior (in virtually every partner combination) replaces aggression and serves many social functions, and unrelated groups mingle instead of fighting. The species's most striking achievement is not tool use or warfare but sensitivity to others.
In the first book to combine and compare data from captivity and the field, Frans de Waal, a world-renowned primatologist, and Frans Lanting, an internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, present the most up-to-date perspective available on the bonobo. Focusing on social organization, de Waal compares the bonobo with its better-known relative, the chimpanzee. The bonobo's relatively nonviolent behavior and the tendency for females to dominate males confront the evolutionary models derived from observing the chimpanzee's male power politics, cooperative hunting, and intergroup warfare. Further, the bonobo's frequent, imaginative sexual contacts, along with its low reproduction rate, belie any notion that the sole natural purpose of sex is procreation. Humans share over 98 percent of their genetic material with the bonobo and the chimpanzee. Is it possible that the peaceable bonobo has retained traits of our common ancestor that we find hard to recognize in ourselves?
Eight superb full-color photo essays offer a rare view of the bonobo in its native habitat in the rain forests of Zaire as well as in zoos and research facilities. Additional photographs and highlighted interviews with leading bonobo experts complement the text. This book points the way to viable alternatives to male-based models of human evolution and will add considerably to debates on the origin of our species. Anyone interested in primates, gender issues, evolutionary psychology, and exceptional wildlife photography will find a fascinating companion in Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape.
The first edition of Frans de Waal's Chimpanzee Politics was acclaimed not only by primatologists for its scientific achievement but also by politicians, business leaders, and social psychologists for its remarkable insights into the most basic human needs and behaviors. Still considered a classic, this updated edition is a detailed and thoroughly engrossing account of rivalries and coalitions--actions governed by intelligence rather than instinct. As we watch the chimpanzees of Arnhem behave in ways we recognize from Machiavelli (and from the nightly news), de Waal reminds us again that the roots of politics are older than humanity.
"Astonishing . . . Moving." --People"The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an unflinching, visceral look at the emotional and physical damage--actual, real damage done to specific, individual apes--in some of America's most notorious biomedical research labs. It is also the story of humans who were driven to provide them with refuge, retirement . . . and, ultimately, their inherent right to dignity." --Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants IN THE CANADIAN WILDERNESS, Gloria Grow has created a rehabilitation center like none other. Thirteen chimpanzees, rescued from zoos and medical testing laboratories, now call Fauna Sanctuary home. After decades of cruelty and deprivation, these resilient primates are finally free to eat, sleep, play, and roam in peace--all while fighting their personal demons. Primatologist and author Andrew Westoll lived and worked at Fauna one remarkable summer, and The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is his poignant testimony to the capacity of these animals to heal--and to learn to be chimps again. This is an absorbing, bighearted story about the species more closely related to us than any other.
"There is plenty of moral outrage in this book, but there is also plenty of wonder . . . Impassioned and well reasoned." --Cleveland Plain Dealer
Instead of the intrepid scientist he had admired in the pages of National Geographic, Fowler finds a chain-smoking, hard-drinking woman bullying her staff into submission. While pressures mount from powers beyond Karisoke in an effort to extricate Fossey from her domain of thirteen years, she brings new students in to serve her most pressing need--to hang on to the remote research camp that has become her mountain home. Increasingly bizarre behavior has targeted Fossey for extrication by an ever-growing group of detractors--from conservation and research organizations to the Rwandan government.
Amid the turmoil, Fowler must abandon his own research assignments to assuage the troubled Fossey as she orders him on illegal treks across the border into Zaire, over volcanoes, in search of missing gorillas, and to serve as surrogate parent to an orphaned baby ape in preparation for its traumatic re-introduction into a wild gorilla group.
This riveting story is the only first-person account from inside Dian Fossey's beleaguered camp. Fowler must come to grips with his own aspirations, career objectives, and disappointments as he develops the physical endurance to keep up with mountain gorillas over volcanic terrain in icy downpours above ten thousand feet, only to be affronted by the frightening charges of indignant giant silverbacks or to be treed by aggressive forest buffalos. Back in camp, he must nurture the sensitivity and patience needed for the demands of rehabilitating an orphaned baby gorilla.
A Forest in the Clouds takes the armchair adventurer on a journey into an extraordinary world that now only exists in the memories of the very few who knew it.
One of the most important books ever written about our connection to the natural world, GORILLAS IN THE MIST is the riveting account of Dian Fossey's thirteen years in a remote African rain forest with the greatest of the great apes. Fossey's extraordinary efforts to ensure the future of the rain forest and its remaining mountain gorillas are captured in her own words and in candid photographs of this fascinating endangered species. As only she could, Fossey combined her personal adventure story with groundbreaking scientific reporting in an unforgettable portrait of one of our closest primate relatives. Although Fossey's work ended tragically in her murder, GORILLAS IN THE MIST remains an invaluable testament to one of the longest-running field studies of primates and reveals her undying passion for her subject.