14 Jan 2013

Make love not war, and eat together: Bonobos show the way

Bonobo monkeys, or pan paniscus to give them the species its latin name, share with their larger cousins, the common chimpanzee, a considerable majority of their genes with us humans. In fact these two species are our closest remaining relatives on this planet. The behaviour patterns of the bonobo in its natural environment in the Congo basin have several interesting aspects, the best known of which being their almost constant fornication with almost any partner available. And, as a probable result, far lower levels of agressivity than the larger common chimpanzee, and an apparent absence of jealousy since partners, for both sexes, are multiple. It is clearly a case of "make love not war" with the bonobo. It is also said that bonobos tend to be matriarchal in their organisation and that the females use sexuality to control males. Humans do this too, in some cases!

But this rampant albeit rapid sexuality is not the only endearing aspect of the bonobos' behaviour. They are also capable of concern for each other, apart from those seen as potential sexual partners, and also prefer to share food rather than eat alone. The experiment conducted below shows this latter, perhaps more surprising aspect of their social conduct. Hitherto, many thought that only humans had this preference for sharing their food with others, even unknown strangers, to eating alone.


  1. So you turn simian ethologist as well !
    There’s one more parallel to draw: we use food to lower our sexuality – a full belly induces snoring rather than violent erections – after we’ve used food (in posh restaurants) to seduce the females that govern our matriarchal society !
    People volunteering for the Salvation Army, the “Restos du Coeur” and other “Secours Catholique-like organizations” fix meals for the poor in order to prevent them from procreating.
    Priests and right wing “Education Nationale personel” demonstrate against gay love in the streets of France on sundays, and the very same ones take advantage of small boys the next day. Give them food, give them food !

  2. Give them wine, give them wine! (Coume Majou if possible).
    Now of course we do not know how bonobos deal with this beverage. Maybe we should undertake a study and learn something?

  3. Not bad for a name. This would imply either that we taste very fast or else frequently interrupt our tastings for other activities?