I am a Dutch/American biologist, born in the Netherlands in 1948, having lived in the USA since 1981. My passion is primate behavior, and the comparison between primate and human behavior. I pursue the first as a scientist and the second as a writer of popular books. For me, there is nothing more logical than to look at human society through the lens of animal behavior.
I have a Ph. D. in zoology and ethology (the study of animal behavior) from the University of Utrecht, and now teach Psychology at Emory University, in Atlanta. My first book, "Chimpanzee Politics," compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. The book even reached the reading list of the congress in Washington. Ever since, I have drawn parallels between primate and human behavior, from aggression to morality and culture.
With my wife, Catherine, and our cats, we live in a forested area near Smoke Rise, in Georgia, a state we love. My daily work consists of teaching and research, which I do at America's oldest and largest primate center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. I direct the Living Links Center there, which specializes in behavioral studies of monkeys and apes, mostly on social behavior and intelligence, so as to better understand human evolution. We do much of our work at a field station, outside of Atlanta, where the primates live in large open-air enclosures. All studies we conduct are behavioral and non-invasive. Our website offers videos, press releases, blogs, and so on: www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS
Since childhood, I have been an animal lover, and in fact -- even though my career has focused on primate behavior -- I am very much interested in all sorts of animals, including fish and birds, but also elephants and dolphins. My latest book on animal intelligence (Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?) reflects this broader interest, as it covers many different species.
For more on my background, please check out the following website: