New York Times best-selling author and primatologist Frans de Waal explores the fascinating world of animal and human emotions. New York Times best-selling author and primatologist Frans de Waal explores the fascinating world of animal and human emotions. Mama's Last Hug opens with the dramatic farewell between Mama, a dying fifty-nine-year-old chimpanzee matriarch, and biologist Jan Van Hooff. This heartfelt final meeting of two longtime friends, widely shared as a video, offers a window into how deep and instantly recognizable these bonds can be. So begins Frans de Waal's whirlwind tour of new ideas and findings about animal emotions, based on his renowned studies of the social and emotional lives of chimpanzees, bonobos, and other primates. De Waal discusses facial expressions, animal sentience and consciousness, Mama's life and death, the emotional side of human politics, and the illusion of free will. He distinguishes between emotions and feelings, all the while emphasizing the continuity between our species and other species. And he makes the radical proposal that emotions are like organs: we don't have a single organ that other animals don't have, and the same is true for our emotions.
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"de Waal's thoughtful, careful study of how our animal cousins truly interact and engage with each other provides an illumination of our own behavior and place in the panoply of life that is very thought-provoking. And hearing his own voice at the end was a nice touch. This book offers so many insights and important ideas to think about, and the pacing of it is well-suited to being able to digest it while listening. This is one to listen to more than once."
Mountaineer (5 out of 5 stars)
“Makes us think long and hard about the true nature of animal emotions.”
— Desmond Morris, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“After you’ve read Mama’s Last Hug, it becomes obvious that animals have emotions. Learn how they resemble us in many ways.”
— Temple Grandin, New York Times bestselling author
“Game-changing…For too long…animal emotions were simply ignored. But nothing could be more essential to understanding how people and animals behave.”
— New York Times Book Review
“Through colorful stories and riveting prose, de Waal firmly puts to rest the stubborn notion that humans alone in the animal kingdom experience a broad array of emotions.”
“Moving, often funny, and almost always eye-opening.”
— Science News
“De Waal is a skilled storyteller, and…turns his years of research into a delightful and illuminating read for nonscientists.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“In de Waal’s engaging inquiry, we roam the animal kingdom as he makes his most important point: we animals share the same emotions, just as we share the same organs.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“De Waal’s masterful work of evolutionary psychology will leave both fellow academics and intellectually curious lay readers with much food for thought.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Applying wide-ranging examples, from primates to schools of fish, he skillfully illustrates that emotions are an essential part of intellect for all species.”
— Library Journal
“Narrator L. J. Ganser’s conversational delivery perfectly matches author-primatologist de Waal’s easygoing style…Ganser wisely honors the author’s storytelling approach to this complex subject, allowing his own enthusiasm and wonder to shine through. Through hearing examples of apes sharing a sense of humor and elephants being self-aware and imaginative, listeners will discover just how similar we are to fellow mammals.”
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
A #1 Amazon.com bestseller in Biology of Apes and Monkeys
A New York Times bestseller
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About Frans de Waal
Frans de Waal, PhD, is a biologist and ethologist, world-renowned for his work on the social intelligence of primates. He has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and is the author of numerous books, including The Ape and the Sushi Master, which was named a New York Times Notable Book, Our Inner Ape, and Peacemaking among Primates, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award. He is a Charles Howard Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University and the director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Center in Atlanta.
About L. J. Ganser
L. J. Ganser is a multiple Audie Award–winning narrator with over six hundred titles recorded to date. Prized for versatility, his work ranges from preschool books to crime noir thrillers, from astronomical adventures in both science and science fiction, to Arctic Circle high school basketball stories. He lives in New York City with his family and dog, Mars.