Bonobos and chimps

Our Closest Living Relatives About five and a half million years ago the human line of descent split from the ancestor we share with chimps and the lesser known bonobos. Are we more like the aggressive chimp or the peaceful bonobo? Perhaps in part to justify the violence of our recent history, our human story has been most closely compared to the hierarchical and murderous behavior of chimps, which seems to have inspired the view of humans as aggressive by nature.

Bonobos and chimps

As he moves away, Lina enfolds Lana in her arms, and they roll over so that Lana is now on top. The two females rub their genitals together, grinning and screaming in pleasure.

Bonobos and chimps

This is no orgy staged for an X-rated movie. Lana, Maiko, and Lina are bonobos, a rare species of chimplike ape in which frequent couplings and casual sex play characterize every social relationship—between males and females, members of the same sex, closely related animals, and total strangers.

In reconstructing how early man and woman behaved, researchers have generally looked not to bonobos but to common chimpanzees. Only about 5 million years ago human beings and chimps shared a common ancestor, and we still have much behavior in common: The assumption has been that chimp behavior today may be similar to the behavior of human ancestors.

Bonobo behavior, however, offers another window on the past because they, too, shared our 5-million-year-old ancestor, diverging from chimps just 2 million years ago. Bonobos have been less studied than chimps for the simple reason that they are difficult to find.

They live only on a small patch of land in Zaire, in central Africa. Bonobos, also known as pygmy chimpanzees, are not really pygmies but welterweights. The largest males are as big as chimps, and the females of the two species are the same size.

But bonobos are more delicate in build, and their arms and legs are long and slender.

The Chimpanzee

On the ground, moving from fruit tree to fruit tree, bonobos often stand and walk on two legs—behavior that makes them seem more like humans than chimps. In some ways their sexual behavior seems more human as well, suggesting that in the sexual arena, at least, bonobos are the more appropriate ancestral model.

Males and females frequently copulate face-to-face, which is an uncommon position in animals other than humans. Males usually mount females from behind, but females seem to prefer sex face-to-face.

The Bonobo

Females presumably prefer face-to-face contact because it feels better. Like humans but unlike chimps and most other animals, bonobos separate sex from reproduction. They seem to treat sex as a pleasurable activity, and they rely on it as a sort of social glue, to make or break all sorts of relationships.

A lot of the things we see, like pedophilia and homosexuality, may be leftovers that some now consider unacceptable in our particular society.

Bonobos seem to have sex more often and in more combinations than the average person in any culture, and most of the time bonobo sex has nothing to do with making babies.

Males mount females and females sometimes mount them back; females rub against other females just for fun; males stand rump to rump and press their scrotal areas together.

Casual Sex Play Common Among Bonobos | urbanagricultureinitiative.com

Very young animals also have sex with each other: When two animals initiate sex, others freely join in by poking their fingers and toes into the moving parts.TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript: What happens when two monkeys are paid unequally?

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This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The digit and digit formats both work. Sep 11,  · Bonobos are much more likely than common chimpanzees to share their food, a study suggests. But researchers who study sharing say human .

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Learn about apes, chimpanzees, and orangutans to gain a better understanding of their habitats, characteristics and endangered status.

Peaceful bonobos may have something to teach humans