Passing of Prof. Frans de Waal

It is with heavy hearts that we acknowledge the passing of Dr. Frans de Waal (1948-2024). He was the C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University and the Director of the Living Links Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution at the Emory National Primate Research Center until his retirement in 2019. Frans completed his PhD in Biology from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands in 1977, joined the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center in 1981, and then moved to Emory in 1991.

During his extremely productive career, Frans pioneered studies on many topics including reconciliation, consolation, deception, cooperation, equity, empathy, and culture. His work linked primatology to disparate academic fields including politics, ethics, and economics. He described relationships between humans and the rest of the primate world in ways that were enlightening and entertaining. As primatologists, we admire his pivotal contributions to our professional field of study. We also owe him a debt of gratitude for his impact on the public and how he heightened their understanding of, and appreciation for, nonhuman primates. Frans’ extremely popular books and extensive lecturing activities gave countless people an opportunity to see great apes and monkeys as he portrayed them–as individual creatures–with their own personalities, friendships, strategies, and even grudges to hold. He was a brilliant, award-winning scientist who was also a gifted speaker and teacher. Frans inspired many students and mentored numerous influential primatologists, so his influence on our field will endure. Please go here to learn more about our treasured colleague, Frans de Waal.