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?

Related Articles


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 February 28, 2015 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 February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Drinks for Your Health

The Best Drinks for Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) When it comes to health and fitness, there&apos;s lots of talk about what foods to eat, but there are a few liquids that can promote good nutrition. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the healthiest drinks to boost your health! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cherries, Snap Peas and More Tasty Spring Produce

Cherries, Snap Peas and More Tasty Spring Produce

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) From sweet cherries to sugar snap peas, spring is the peak season for some of the tastiest and healthiest produce. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best seasonal fruits and veggies to spring in to good health! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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