The Ape and the Sushi Master by Franz De Waal
Cultural Reflections of a Primatologist

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Synopsis

What if apes had their own culture rather than one their human observers imposed on them? What if they reacted to situations with behavior learned through observation of their elders (culture) rather than with pure genetically coded instinct (nature)? Contemplating such a possibility is bound to shake centuries-old cultural convictions. In answering these questions, The Ape and the Sushi Master, by the eminent primatologist Frans de Waal, corrects our arrogant assumption that humans are the only form of intelligent life to have made the leap from the natural to the cultural domain. The book's title derives from an analogy de Waal draws between the way behavior is transmitted in ape society and the way sushi-making skills are passed down from sushi master to apprentice. Like the apprentice, young apes watch their group mates at close range, absorbing the methods and lessons of each of their elders' actions. Responses long thought to be instinctive are actually learned behavior, de Waal argues, and constitute ape culture. A delightful, partly autobiographical mix of anecdotes, rigorous research, and fascinating speculation, The Ape and the Sushi Master challenges our most basic assumptions about who we are and how we differ from other animals. Apes are holding a new mirror up to us in which they are not human caricatures but members of our extended family with their own resourcefulness and dignity. For over a century, UFO spotters have told us that we are not alone. In The Ape and the Sushi Master, Frans de Waal makes the equally startling claim that, biologically speaking, we never were.
 

About Franz De Waal

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Frans B. M. de Waal, Ph.D. is the C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center. He is one of the world's leading primate behavior experts. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
 
Published January 17, 2001 by Basic Books. 448 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Literature & Fiction, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Apes are our nearest relatives, and we have far more in common with them than we realize.

Aug 15 2005 | Read Full Review of The Ape and the Sushi Master:...

Kirkus Reviews

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Most of these insights into animal culture have come in recent decades, when western zoologists began to adopt the methods of their Japanese peers, in particular learning to identify and follow individual animals.

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The Guardian

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For too long, we have exploited the idea of human culture in order to set ourselves apart from the rest of the animal kingdom (though, intriguingly, the tendency is less emphatic in Eastern societies, whose religions have at least given souls to animals, thus making it easier for modern scientist...

Jun 24 2001 | Read Full Review of The Ape and the Sushi Master:...

United Academics

Tweet Paper metadata: Identifier oai:wo.uvt.nl:91962 Onderwe...

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United Academics

de Waal, 2001, 0465041752 ...

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