Sex and Gender: Diversity in Chimps, Bonobos, and Us

Published October 22, 2022 by Nan Mykel

Sorry I missed this earlier. Thanks for telling me, Annie:


Photo by Keith Lobo on

Frans de Waal is a Dutch biologist and primatologist who thinks humans have some silly ideas/constructs about sex and gender. He’s written a number of books, most recently Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist.

I heard him express his strong opinions on Alan Alda’s Clear and Vivid podcast and found them thought-provoking—an interesting perspective as Americans seek to navigate one of a number of “us vs them” issues.

Please keep in mind that this is my summary of a podcast discussion evoked by the contents of his book. It is, inevitably, a superficial rendering of some very complex topics.

Based on his research and observations, de Waal says:

“Some conservative politicians say there are men and women—that’s all.” But “things are not so simple—with us and our closest relatives.”

For Starters, What Are We Talking About?

De Waal made quick…

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