Ep23 Frans de Waal on emotions and morality in animals

2020 ibuzz podcast Dec 26, 2020

Dr. Frans de Waal is a Dutch primatologist and ethologist. He is C.H. Candler Professor of primate behaviour in the Department of Psychology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also the director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory. Frans is the author of many books of which he discusses during this podcast.

Frans discusses the attribution of emotion and morality to animals, which is still a subject of debate among animal scientists. For many, empathy and emotion have been thought of as a distinctly human experience. 

Frans compares feelings and emotions and shares with us different stories and experiences to illustrate emotional capacities in chimpanzees, bonobos, and other animals. He remarks that emotions can be found everywhere in the animal kingdom.

Frans and Sabrina share their thoughts on how scientists and academics should be interpreting their work for broader audiences and how we can get science into practical resources to make animals' lives better under human care.

Frans (together with Dr. Jennifer Pokorny) was awarded the 2013 Ig Nobel Prize in anatomy, for discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends!

Frans encourages new scientists to do innovative research into animal emotions that will help us better their emotional capacities. 

With his decades of experience observing animals, how they behave and how they treat each other, Frans guarantees ample evidence that emotion exists everywhere in the animal kingdom, and that morality is not a uniquely human trait. 

Find here the books he mentions in the podcast: Chimpanzee Politics (1982)Mama’s last hug (2019), and more.

Find more about the paper winner of the Ig Nobel prize HERE

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