Today we welcome Dr. Frans de Waal, a Dutch American biologist and primatologist known for his work on the behavior and social intelligence of primates. He is a professor in Emory University’s psychology department and the Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Chimpanzee Politics, The Age of Empathy, The Bonobo and the Atheist, and Mama’s Last Hug are among his most popular books that have been translated in over 20 languages. His latest book is called Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist.
In this episode, I talk to Frans de Waal about sex and gender. As a primatologist, he shares his research findings on the biological differences between male and female primates. Despite obvious distinctions between masculine and feminine behavior, great apes have no trouble accepting non-binary individuals—a behavior we humans need to practice more of. Dr. Frans clears up what alpha male really means and debunks the “natural order” of male supremacy. We also touch on the topics of socialization, power, altruism, reproduction, and equality.
- What is a primatologist?
- Biology in the gender debate
- Donna: the non-binary chimpanzee
- Dominance, power, and prestige
- Alpha males and alpha females
- Sex differences in play and aggression
- Gender identity and self socialization
- The Selfish Gene
- The evolution of the clitoris
- The stigma of female sexuality
- Extra-pair copulation and paternity testing
- Competition, rivalry, and conflict resolution
- Maternal instinct and xenophobia among primates
- Embodied cognition