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 November 29, 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 November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
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