From the New York Times bestselling author of Mama's Last Hug and Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, a provocative argument that apes have created their own distinctive cultures
In The Ape and the Sushi Master, eminent primatologist Frans de Waal corrects our arrogant assumption that humans are the only creatures 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 mix of intriguing anecdote, rigorous clinical study, adventurous field work, and fascinating speculation, The Ape and the Sushi Master shows that apes are not human caricatures but members of our extended family with their own resourcefulness and dignity.
Frans de Waal is the C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center. Named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People, he is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Mama's Last Hug and Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, as well as The Bonobo and the Atheist, Our Inner Ape, and numerous other books. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
"The Ape and the Sushi Master is simply brilliant. A must read for anyone interested in the questions of what it means to be human and what it means to be an ape. Not only is the language accessible to everyone, it is a wonderful, thought provoking read."—The Glasgow Herald
"Absorbing and entertaining...explaining to the interested lay person more clearly than any other book the sound science that lies in the middle of the sometimes shrill debate about the origins of human nature."—Washington Post
"De Waal is one of our clearest science writers, not afraid of personal detail, not afraid to stand on the shoulders of greats, like Charles Darwin."—Los Angeles Times Book Review
"An extremely well-written, highly provocative discussion of the origins and meaning of culture."—Kirkus Reviews
"Clear, elegant prose. Read de Waal for history and theory, a good grounding in the basic."—Toronto Globe & Mail
"An entertaining and provocative read."—New Scientist