What are bonobos?
- Great apes
- One of the closest relatives to humans together with the chimpanzee
- They closely resemble us—bipedal and have body proportions closer to ours than chimpanzees
- Generally regarded as peaceful, although they do have violent territorial disputes
- Gregarious with social hierarchy within their troop
- Females have some authority in the troop, a first compared to other apes
- Exhibit emotions such as jealousy
- Close bonds between mothers and sons
- Males are attentive and affectionate to infants
- Highly intelligent and can communicate with humans using a huge variety of symbols and vocabulary
Threats to bonobos
- Their habitat has been overrun by soldiers due to civil wars in the region
- They have been slaughtered for food
- The surging human population has encroached onto their habitat, reducing habitat size
- Bonobos settle disputes by mating.
- Their intelligence is far superior than I thought. There was an experiment where 8 bonobos were moved into an 18-room house, where they could operate doors, press symbols to get snacks from a vending machine and watch movies by pressing buttons on a computer screen. It was as though they were living like humans.
What if humans did not evolve from chimps and bonobos, or remained as hunter-gatherers?