The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections by a Primatologist

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Basic Books, 2001 - Fiction - 433 pages
42 Reviews
What if apes had their own culture rather than an imposed human version? What if they reacted to situations with behavior learned through observation of their elders (culture) rather than with pure genetically coded instinct (nature)? In answering these questions, 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.

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Review: The Ape and the Sushi Master: Reflections of a Primatologist

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I really enjoyed this book as someone who majored in biology in college and took a course on animal behavior. Sorry to hear what Konrad Lorenz was like politically (Nazi). Only problem was it seemed a ... Read full review

Review: The Ape and the Sushi Master: Reflections of a Primatologist

User Review  - Melissa - Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book as someone who majored in biology in college and took a course on animal behavior. Sorry to hear what Konrad Lorenz was like politically (Nazi). Only problem was it seemed a ... Read full review

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Animal
Erica Fudge
Limited preview - 2002
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About the author (2001)

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.

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