Skip to content

Different by Frans de Waal

Published by Granta Books

About the book

How different are the sexes? Is gender uniquely human? Where does gender identity originate? Drawing on decades of observing the behaviour of other primates, world-renowned primatologist Frans de Waal explores what we know of biological sex differences and of the role of culture and socialization, and argues that gender goes beyond a social construct.

Considering how sex differences evolved, maternal and paternal behaviour, sexual orientation, and gender identity and the limitations of the gender binary, among other things, de Waal analyses our shared evolutionary history. He also explores differences between chimpanzees (male dominated and violent) and bonobos (ruled by females and peaceful) – and through this contrast opens up a thrilling new ideas about humans, as we consider what is similar and what sets us apart. Though there are observable parallels between us, in the uses of male and female networking groups, as well as sexual signals, the existence of gender non-conforming individuals and maternal bonds, humans stand apart in the development of nuclear families, the prevalence of sexual violence and joint parental care.

With expert insight and engaging storytelling, de Waal delivers a fresh and thought-provoking understanding of the many remarkable potentials of the human species.

About the author

Frans de Waal is the author of many New York Times bestselling books. Named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, he is the emeritus C. H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University and emeritus Distinguished Professor at the University of Utrecht. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Was this page useful?
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback. Please help us improve this page by taking our short survey.