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Renowned Primatologist Frans de Waal to Give the Root Lecture at W&L

Frans de Waal
Frans de Waal
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Professor Frans de Waal will present the Root Lecture for 2011 entitled "Morality Before Religion: Empathy, Fairness and Prosocial Primates" at Washington and Lee University on Monday, March 21, at 7 p.m. in Huntley Hall 327.

The talk is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Philosophy Department.

De Waal is the C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior in the Department of Psychology at Emory University. A Dutch/American behavioral biologist, de Waal is known for his work on the social intelligence of primates.

De Waal is the author of over 10 books and over 125 authored or co-authored research papers. In his first book, "Chimpanzee Politics" (1982), he compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. Ever since, de Waal has drawn parallels between primate and human behavior, from peacemaking and morality to culture. In his latest book, "The Age of Empathy" (2009), he amasses an astounding volume of research against the assumption that animals lack humane characteristics.

De Waal also is director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. He is a member of the (U.S.) National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. In 2007, de Waal was selected by "Time" as one of The Worlds' 100 Most Influential People Today, and in 2011 by "Discover" as one of 47 (all time) Great Minds of Science.

De Waal received his Ph.D. in biology and zoology from Utrecht University, the Netherlands, in 1977. He completed his postdoctoral study of chimpanzees at Utrecht University in 1981, after which he moved to the United States.