Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Despite 'Peacenik' Reputation, Bonobos Hunt And Eat Other Primates, Too

Date:
October 14, 2008
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Unlike the male-dominated societies of their chimpanzee relatives, bonobo society -- in which females enjoy a higher social status than males -- has a "make-love-not-war" kind of image. While chimpanzee males frequently band together to hunt and kill monkeys, the more peaceful bonobos were believed to restrict what meat they do eat to forest antelopes, squirrels and rodents.

Two bonobos.
Credit: iStockphoto/Ronald Van Der Beek

Unlike the male-dominated societies of their chimpanzee relatives, bonobo society—in which females enjoy a higher social status than males—has a "make-love-not-war" kind of image. While chimpanzee males frequently band together to hunt and kill monkeys, the more peaceful bonobos were believed to restrict what meat they do eat to forest antelopes, squirrels, and rodents.

Not so, according to a study, reported in the October 14th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, that offers the first direct evidence of wild bonobos hunting and eating the young of other primate species.

"These findings are particularly relevant for the discussion about male dominance and bonding, aggression and hunting—a domain that was thought to separate chimpanzees and bonobos," said Gottfried Hohmann of the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. "In chimpanzees, male-dominance is associated with physical violence, hunting, and meat consumption. By inference, the lack of male dominance and physical violence is often used to explain the relative absence of hunting and meat eating in bonobos. Our observations suggest that, in contrast to previous assumptions, these behaviors may persist in societies with different social relations."

Bonobos live only in the lowland forest south of the river Congo, and, along with chimpanzees, they are humans' closest relatives. Bonobos are perhaps best known for their promiscuity: sexual acts both within and between the sexes are a common means of greeting, resolving conflicts, or reconciling after conflicts.

The researchers made the discovery that these free-loving primates also hunt and kill other primates while they were studying a bonobo population living in LuiKotale, Salonga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They had been observing the bonobos there for the last five years, which is what made the new observations possible.

Although Hohmann's team did have prior evidence for monkey hunting by bonobos, it came exclusively from indirect studies of fresh fecal samples—one of which contained the digit of a black mangabey. Yet, in the absence of direct behavioral observations, it was not entirely clear whether the bonobos had hunted the mangabey themselves or had taken it from another predator.

The researchers have now seen three instances of successful hunts in which bonobos captured and ate their primate prey. In two other cases, the bonobo hunting attempts failed. The data from LuiKotale showed that both bonobo sexes play active roles in pursuing and hunting monkeys. The involvement of adult females in the hunts (which is not seen in chimps) may reflect social patterns such as alliance formation and cooperation among adult females, they said.

Overall, the discovery challenges the theory that male dominance and aggression must be causally linked to hunting behavior, an idea held by earlier models of the evolution of aggression in human and non-human primates. Future work on the bonobos of LuiKotale may shed light on the social and ecological conditions that encourage their monkey-hunting expeditions, yielding insight into the evolutionary significance and causes of aggression, hunting, and meat eating in bonobos, chimpanzees, and ourselves.

The researchers include Martin Surbeck and Gottfried Hohmann, of Department of Primatology, Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Despite 'Peacenik' Reputation, Bonobos Hunt And Eat Other Primates, Too." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013124416.htm>.
Cell Press. (2008, October 14). Despite 'Peacenik' Reputation, Bonobos Hunt And Eat Other Primates, Too. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013124416.htm
Cell Press. "Despite 'Peacenik' Reputation, Bonobos Hunt And Eat Other Primates, Too." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013124416.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