New York Times best-selling author and world-renowned primatologist Frans de Waal explores sex and gender in both humans and other animals.
Though many scholars now argue that gender differences are purely a product of socialization, primatologist Frans de Waal illustrates in Different the scientific, evolutionary basis for gender differences in humans, drawing on his decades of experience working with our closest ape relatives: chimpanzees and bonobos. De Waal illuminates their behavioural and biological differences and compares and contrasts them with human behaviour: male domination and territoriality in chimpanzees and the female-led pacific society of bonobos.
In his classic conversational style and a narrative rich in anecdotes and wry observations, de Waal tackles topics including gender identity, sexuality, gender-based violence, same-sex rivalry, homosexuality, friendship, and nurturance. He reveals how evolutionary biology can inform a more nuanced – and equitable – cultural understanding of gender. Ultimately, he argues, our two nearest primate relatives are equally close to us and equally relevant. Considering all available evidence, we can learn much about ourselves and embrace our similarities as well as our differences.
Frans de Waal, author of Mama's Last Hug, is C. H. Candler Professor Emeritus of Primate Behavior at Emory University and the former director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
"This book is superb! Frans de Waal is not only one of the world's most respected primatologists – he's also a ballsy feminist who, in these riveting pages, ventures into territory where most writers in academia and letters fear to tread. Personally, I'm honored to be such a close relative of chimpanzees and bonobos, and eager to learn what they have to teach us about the evolution of our own behaviors. These pages are packed with great stories, fascinating data, and thought-provoking ideas. They are sure to spark the important conversations we all – male and female, queer and straight, trans and nonbinary – need to have to create a more just and equitable human society."
– Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus