Mom’s Last Hug
Frans de Waal
W.W. Norton & Co, $2795

Throughout the last couple of weeks of her life, Mom, a senior chimpanzee at a zoo in the Netherlands, got an unique visitor. As Mom lay huddled on a mound of straw, biologist Jan van Hooff entered her enclosure. Van Hooff, who had actually understood Mom for more than 40 years, knelt down and rubbed the arm of the listless chimp. When Mom searched for, her uninhabited face emerged into a smile. She connected to van Hooff, calling out as she patted his face and neck.

For primatologist Frans de Waal, this touching scene isn’t hard to analyze: Mom mored than happy to see her old pal. However such an analysis has actually been taboo amongst lots of behavioral researchers, who have actually declared nonhuman animals resemble unthinking, emotionless devices that respond to scenarios with preprogrammed impulses.

In the thought-provoking Mom’s Last Hug, de Waal takes apart that view. He provides stacks of proof that animals are psychological beings. The book is a buddy to Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, in which he checked out animal intelligence ( SN: 12/24/16 & 1/7/17, p. 40).

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