Mama's Last Hug | Granta

  • Published: 05/03/2020
  • ISBN: 9781783784110
  • Granta Books
  • 348 pages

Mama’s Last Hug

Frans de Waal

Mama’s Last Hug opens with the moving farewell between Mama, a dying chimpanzee matriarch, and her human friend, a professor who inspired the author’s work. Their parting, the video of which has been watched by millions online, is not only a window into the deep bonds they shared, but into the remarkable emotional capacities of animals.

In this groundbreaking and entertaining book, primatologist Frans de Waal draws on his renowned studies of the social and emotional lives of chimpanzees, bonobos and other primates, and personal encounters with many other species, to illuminate new ideas and findings about animal emotions: joy, grief, shame, love, pain and happiness.

Exploring the facial expressions of animals, human and animal politics, and animal consciousness, de Waal illustrates how profoundly we have underestimated animals’ emotional experiences. He argues that emotions occupy a far more significant place in the way we organise our societies than a more rationalist approach would advocate. His radical proposal is that emotions are like organs: humans haven’t a single organ that other animals don’t have, and the same can be said of our emotions.

Scientifically enlightening... [de Waal's] writing and science are infectiously good

Adam Rutherford, Guardian

Entertaining, convincing and moving

Irish Times

[De Waal] makes an excellent case for the hypothesis that there is no emotion in our human psyche that we don't see in our closest relatives - and, in fact, in intelligent animals of all kinds, especially mammals and large-brained birds ... A convincing book, and De Waal [is] an excellent observer of primate behaviour [and] immensely knowledgeable... a window into chimps' lives, and a looking glass for our own

Tom Chivers, The Times

The Author

Frans de Waal has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. The New York Times bestselling author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (Granta, 2016) and Our Inner Ape (Granta, 2005) among many other works, he is the C. H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

More about the author →

From the Same Author

Frans de Waal on

Essays & Memoir | Granta Books

Mama’s Last Hug

Frans de Waal

‘Watching behaviour comes naturally to me, so much so that I may be overdoing it.’