A 21st Century Portrait of Our Closest Kin
“The New Chimpanzee is a tour de force, bringing together a vast body of research in chimpanzee behavior, ecology, and genetics. Readers searching for an up-to-date account of what we’ve learned about chimpanzees in recent decades will find Stanford’s book to be informative and edifying.” —Herman Pontzer, Hunter College, City University of New York
“Lively, informative, and ambitious in scope, The New Chimpanzee vividly demonstrates that we are living in an exciting time for chimpanzee research. Stanford’s book will speak to anyone interested in the latest findings on chimpanzees, especially as they relate to our understanding of human evolution.”—Michael Wilson, University of Minnesota
Recent discoveries about wild chimpanzees have dramatically reshaped our understanding of these great apes and their kinship with humans. We now know that chimpanzees not only have genomes similar to our own but also plot political coups, wage wars over territory, pass on cultural traditions to younger generations, and ruthlessly strategize for resources, including sexual partners. In The New Chimpanzee, Craig Stanford challenges us to let apes guide our inquiry into what it means to be human.
With wit and lucidity, Stanford explains what the past two decades of chimpanzee field research has taught us about the origins of human social behavior, the nature of aggression and communication, and the divergence of humans and apes from a common ancestor. Drawing on his extensive observations of chimpanzee behavior and social dynamics, Stanford adds to our knowledge of chimpanzees’ political intelligence, sexual power plays, violent ambition, cultural diversity, and adaptability.
The New Chimpanzee portrays a complex and even more humanlike ape than the one Jane Goodall popularized more than a half century ago. It also sounds an urgent call for the protection of our nearest relatives at a moment when their survival is at risk.
Craig Stanford is Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at the University of Southern California.