Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bonobo Handshake: What Makes Our Chimp-like Cousins So Cooperative?

Date:
September 4, 2007
Source:
Max Planck Institute
Summary:
What's it like to work with relatives who think sex is like a handshake, who organize orgies with the neighbors, and firmly believe females should be in charge of everything? On September 11, a group of young researchers will head to the Congo to study our mysterious cousin, the bonobo.

Vanessa takes the temperature of a young female bonobo.
Credit: Image courtesy of Max Planck Institute

What’s it like to work with relatives who think sex is like a handshake, who organise orgies with the neighbours, and firmly believe females should be in charge of everything?

On September 11, researcher Vanessa Woods will journey to Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary in Congo with colleagues from the Max Planck Institute in Germany to study our mysterious cousin, the bonobo.

‘On our last trip, we found that bonobos were better cooperators than chimpanzees because they had sex and played a lot. This time we want to see how much thinking is going on behind the cooperation.’

Bonobos, like chimpanzees, are related to humans by 98.7%. But in contrast to chimpanzees who live in male dominated societies, where infanticide and lethal aggression are observed, bonobos live in highly tolerant and peaceful societies due to female dominance that maintains group cohesion and regulates tensions through sexual behaviour.

‘We’re always comparing ourselves to chimpanzees, but they’re only half the picture. Bonobos and chimpanzees are so opposite in many ways, that we really need to understand bonobos if we’re ever going to understand ourselves.’

Apart from cooperation, Woods and her colleagues will be looking at whether bonobos are more helpful than chimpanzees, whether bonobos are more helpful, and whether they like to play ball.

‘A lot of our experiments look silly, like when I throw a bright red soccer ball back and forth, or wave a red porcupine around. But a lot of these games help us understand the way bonobos think. Are they as obsessed with objects as we are? Are they scared of new things?’

Working in the Democratic Republic of Congo doesn’t always go according to plan.

‘Every day there seems to be a new crisis. Last trip we were evacuated from the sanctuary because of gunfire in Kinshasa. Then an orphan bonobo was confiscated from the bush meat trade. He died soon after. It was heart wrenching. But then the bonobos are so funny and fascinating, you go from being devastated one minute to uplifted the next.’


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max Planck Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Max Planck Institute. "Bonobo Handshake: What Makes Our Chimp-like Cousins So Cooperative?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903142204.htm>.
Max Planck Institute. (2007, September 4). Bonobo Handshake: What Makes Our Chimp-like Cousins So Cooperative?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903142204.htm
Max Planck Institute. "Bonobo Handshake: What Makes Our Chimp-like Cousins So Cooperative?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070903142204.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins