Frans de Waal, PhD, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and a C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University, is featured in TIME magazine's 2007 Top 100: The People Who Shape Our World special issue, available on newsstands May 4. (See the feature on the TIME web site.)
de Waal, a world-renowned primatologist and best-selling author, is widely recognized for his behavioral and evolutionary work with great apes as well as for his nine books, two of which the New York Times named "Notable Books of the Year."
de Waal began studying chimpanzees in 1975. They remain the main animal model for his social reciprocity, conflict resolution and food sharing studies. He also conducts research with capuchin monkeys.
Most recently, de Waal has become interested in the origins of morality and justice in human society. In his latest book, Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved, de Waal shares his belief that human morality grows from our genes and that many of the traits that define morality -- empathy, reciprocity, reconciliation and consolation -- can be seen in animals, most particularly in primates.
"I am extremely honored to be included among such a widely representative group of men and women who are making a difference in our world," says de Waal. "This selection goes to show that people are thirsting to know more about human nature and that they welcome the evolutionary perspective a primatologist, like myself, brings," he continues.
TIME began its annual profile in 2004 of extraordinary people whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world. Categories include "Artists and Entertainers," "Scientists and Thinkers," "Leaders and Revolutionaries," "Heroes and Pioneers" and "Builders and Titans." de Waal joins past winners Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Melinda Gates, President Bill Clinton and Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, director of the National Cancer Institute.
For more than seven decades, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, has been dedicated to advancing science and to improving human health and well being. Today, the center, as one of only eight National Institutes of Health-funded national primate research centers, provides specialized scientific resources, expertise and training opportunities. Recognized as a multidisci¬plinary research institute, the Yerkes Research Center is making landmark discoveries in the fields of microbiol¬ogy and immunology, neuroscience, psychobiol¬ogy and sensory-motor systems. Research programs are seeking ways to: develop vaccines for infectious and noninfectious diseases, such as AIDS and Alzheimer's disease; treat cocaine addiction; interpret brain activity through imaging; increase understanding of progres¬sive illnesses such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's; unlock the secrets of memory; determine behavioral effects of hormone replacement therapy; address vision disorders; and advance knowledge about the evolutionary links between biology and behavior.