Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bonobo Blues

Bonobo. Do you wonder what these little Bonobos are thinking, with their far off glazy, day dreamy stares?

You're probably thinking this looks like a chimp. If so, you're not alone. Apparently, both Chimps and Bonobos both live along the Zaire/Congo river, Bonobos to the South and Chimps to the North. The Chimps compete with Gorillas for food and thus form smaller groups which roam a wider area for food. The Chimps tend to be more competitive with each other and perhaps more violent including infanticide, invasion and cannibalism. The lovable Bonobos to the South of the river have the lowland rainforest (and hence all the food) to themselves, the Gorillas having left long ago due to an ancient drought. The Bonobos, having the luxury of abundant food, are able to form social groups and strong bonding, particularly between females, possibly for mutual protection. Social sex is common. The combination of these behaviors could explain the virtual absence of infanticide.

The bonobo is more slender than a chimp and has longer limbs and a slimmer appearance as well as a rounder face. They're about the same size as chimps and most people, including myself, have a hard time telling them apart. The big differences appear to be behavioral as mentioned above. Bonobos do not hunt monkeys for food like Chimps do. They apparently have been seen grooming and interacting with monkeys instead.

No comments: