Primate Research Shakes Up Our Understanding Of Morality

Expert primatologist Frans de Waal has been working with chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest evolutionary and genetic relatives, for about 40 years.

He’s currently the C. H. Candler Professor of Primate behaviour at Emory University and Director of the Living Links primate lab at the Yerkes National Primate Research centre. 

In his new book, “The Bonobo And The Atheist” (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2013), he argues that our morality — how we empathise with others and have a desire to be fair to others — isn’t based in our culture or our religion, but instead comes from the way we’ve evolved over time.

He says that like humans, our primate relatives also show the ability to care for others around them. He visited the office to explain to us the similarities in morality between humans and chimpanzees and bonobos.


Produced by William Wei

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.