Saturday, October 18, 2008

the bonobo

this weekend, i heard for the first time of the chimpanzee known as bonobo. i was wondering to a scientist friend why human beings have such a proclivity towards aggression and being mean. she said that it had to do with survival, and being descended from the common chimpanzee rather than the bonobo. according to her, the bonobo was more like a kind of laid-back hippy kind of creature. "i want to be descended from the bonobo!" was my immediate response. and then i did a bit of googling ...

wiki says:
"The Bonobo (IPA: /bə'noʊboʊ/ , Pan paniscus), until recently usually called the Pygmy Chimpanzee (and less often the Dwarf or Gracile Chimpanzee), is one of the two species making up the chimpanzee genus, Pan. The other species in genus Pan is Pan troglodytes, or the Common Chimpanzee. Although the name "chimpanzee" is sometimes used to refer to both species together, it is usually understood as referring to the Common Chimpanzee. The Bonobo is endangered, and is found in the wild only in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Along with the Common Chimpanzee, the Bonobo is the closest relative to Humans. Since neither species are proficient swimmers, it is possible that the formation of the Congo River 1.5–2 million years ago lead to the speciation of the Bonobo, which live south of the river, from the ancestors of the Common Chimpanzee, which live north of the river. The species is distinguished by relatively long legs, parted hair on their head, a matriarchal culture, and the prominent role of sexual activity in its society. This primate is mainly frugivorous, but supplements its diet with leaves and sometimes small vertebrates and invertebrates. Bonobos also sometimes hunt and kill monkeys for food."

matriarchal and frugivorous sounds good, although i'm not sure about living in the congo (a bit hot for me).

scientific american (march 1995) says:
"The species is best characterized as female-centered and egalitarian and as one that substitutes sex for aggression. Whereas in most other species sexual behavior is a fairly distinct category, in the bonobo it is part and parcel of social relations--and not just between males and females. Bonobos engage in sex in virtually every partner combination (although such contact among close family members may be suppressed). And sexual interactions occur more often among bonobos than among other primates. Despite the frequency of sex, the bonobo's rate of reproduction in the wild is about the same as that of the chimpanzee. A female gives birth to a single infant at intervals of between five and six years. So bonobos share at least one very important characteristic with our own species, namely, a partial separation between sex and reproduction."

egalitarian and no chimp version of homophobia, eh? anyway, it was also explained to me that aggression and competition in humans were a vital part of our survival and development, and there was a reason why the bonobo are still stuck up a tree in africa. it's a pity, but that's evolution. *sigh*

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:12 am

    um..confusing..
    bonobo..they're famous..

    when i read the post at the first time, i was laughing..but, i'm confused now..what's the point?

    i was laughing cus you said you wanna be descender of bonobo..? haha..i'm dying. it's cute idea.

    but i reread the post again, and
    now, i'm not giggling.

    hum..hum...hum?
    the bonobo...what's that?
    you don't need to answer actually,
    thank you for the post.

    good night~^^

    ReplyDelete