Sunday, March 17, 2013
Science Sunday: Our Closest Primate Relatives, Chimps & Bonobos
Hi everyone! I've survived most of my midterm-grading fest this week, and only have two more to go :) They're sitting here on my desk, my green grading pen on top, and I pretty much have no interest in plowing through them. Maybe after I write a few blog posts...
The classic chimp is the most robust of the two, and has a larger habitat. There are some physical features that separate it from the bonobo, but I'll avoid getting too technical. What I really want to discuss is the fact that their society is structured around male relationships. Those are the most important, and males are the dominant individuals. The females and their kids congregate with food, but are often alone, and ruled over by the males, especially the top male (dominant male) of the group.
The other thing about bonobos is that they really like to get it on. (Imagine talking about this to a classroom full of freshmen--it always leads to everyone being *wide* awake!) There are no concerns for who they're doing it with, with plenty of F-F fun going on. This is how they diffuse tension, gain favor, and get along in general. Really, their society is built around getting along with love not war. Violence is rare and muted. It is so very different and regularly makes me think of the 1960's in terms of the way things work :)