The bonobo, our old cousin?

The bonobo, our old cousin?

The bonobo is commonly considered to be more gracile than the common chimpanzee. Bonobos are both terrestrial and arboreal. Most ground locomotion is characterized by quadrupedal knuckle walking.


What is a bonobo?

The bonobo is an endangered great ape and one of the two species making up the genus Pan. Bipedal walking has been recorded as less than 1% of terrestrial locomotion in the wild. The bonobo also has highly individuated facial features, as humans do, so that one individual may look significantly different from another, a characteristic adapted for visual facial recognition in social interaction.

Multivariate analysis has shown bonobos are more neotenized than the common chimpanzee, taking into account such features as the proportionately long torso length of the bonobo.

Social behavior

Most studies indicate that females have a higher social status. Aggressive encounters between males and females are rare, and males are tolerant of infants and juveniles. A male derives his status from the status of his mother. The mother–son bond often stays strong and continues throughout life. While social hierarchies do exist, and although the son of a high ranking female may outrank a lower female, rank plays a less prominent role than in other primate societies.

Because of the promiscuous mating behavior of female, a male cannot be sure which offspring are his. As a result, the entirety of parental care is assumed by the mothers. Bonobo party size tends to vary because the groups exhibit a fission–fusion pattern. A community of approximately 100 will split into small groups during the day while looking for food, and then will come back together to sleep. They sleep in nests that they construct in trees.

Image: Matthew Wiebe 
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Bonobo.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Sep. 2017. Web.

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