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Episode 18: Empathy

Empathy has long been considered a uniquely human trait, but it’s an ability that has also been observed in apes and other animals. Primatologist Frans de Waal says that examples of empathy in non-human primates and other mammals suggest that empathy has a long evolutionary history in humans.   Frans de Waal is the C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University where he directs the Living Links Center for the Advanced Study of Ape and Human Evolution. He’s the author of several books including The Age of Empathy, and most recently, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?   Credits: Nancy Rosenbaum produced our story. Our editor is Audrey Quinn. Theme music by Henry Nagle. Additional music by Podington Bear, Lee Rosevere, and Box Cat Records. Being Human Bonus produced by Meredith Johnson.   Being Human: This episode was produced as part of the Being Human initiative. A joint project of The Leakey Foundation and the Baumann Foundation.    The Being Human initiative is all about why we experience our lives the way we do, including our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Keep listening after our story for the “Being Human Bonus Segment” where we talk about  how the science in this episode applies to real world situations. Our guest is Natalee Hanson, a special education teacher who works with students who have emotional and behavioral disabilities.   The Leakey Foundation: Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. The Leakey Foundation advances human origins research and offers educational opportunities to cultivate a deeper, collective understanding of what it means to be human. We give research grants to scientists and share their groundbreaking discoveries through our podcast, website, and lecture programs. We also give scholarships to students from developing countries to attend field schools and earn advanced degrees.   You can help The Leakey Foundation fund important scientific research and outreach programs like this podcast by making a tax-deductible donation to The Leakey Foundation. Visit before August 31st and your donation will be doubled!    Adept Word Management: Origin Stories is sponsored by Adept Word Management. Intelligent transcripts. Visit them for all of your transcription needs at    You can find transcripts of our past episodes at  

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