The Bonobo Essay Research Paper BONOBO

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The Bonobo Essay, Research Paper BONOBO Pan paniscus Description: The bonobo is a species of chimpanzee. It is the least known of the great apes because it lives only in aremote rainforest region on central Africa, and compared to other apes, it was only recently discovered. The bonobo isalso commonly referred to as the pygmy chimpanzee. Pygmy is a misnomer because the body weight of the bonobo is,on average, the same or slightly less than one of the subspecies of the common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytessohweinfurthi. Compared to the common chimpanzee, the body weight of the bonobo is differently proportioned, andthe center of gravity is shifted lower making it possible for the bonobo to stand more erect and frequently walkbipedally. The bonobo has longer limbs (relative to

trunk length) and their build is generally more slender and gracile.The body structure of the bonobo is an adaptation for climbing and living an arboreal lifestyle in the rainforest. Thebonobo’s head and ears are noticeably smaller, and there is less brow mass over the eyes than observed in thechimpanzee. The facial skin is darkly pigmented, and the hair is always black, usually parted in the middle of the headwith bushy sideburns sticking out on both sides of the face. The bonobo’s vocalizations are high pitched squeals.Because of similar morphological traits, some anthropologists consider the bonobo as the best living prototype for thecommon ancestor of humans and African apes. While this controversy remains unsettled, it has been establishedthrough molecular genetic

analyses that the chimpanzee genus, Pan, is most closely related to humans and sharesapproximately 99% genetic identity. Thus it follows that the bonobos and chimpanzees have many human-likemorphological, physiological and behavioral traits. Range: Bonobos are geographically confined to a small region in Zaire, in the Zaire River Basin south of the ZaireRiver. Habitat: Unlike the common chimpanzee, which lives in a variety of habitats, the bonobo is found primarily in lowlandrainforests. Its lifestyle is more arboreal. Diet: Bonobos primarily feed on arboreal fruits, leaves and pith from stems. They are known to occasionally eat insectsand hunt small mammals. They have also been observed to slap water up from a stream and eat either invertebrates orfish. Social Organization:

Certain aspects of bonobo social organization differs from the chimpanzee’s and other greatapes’. Bonobos are most frequently found in mixed age and sex groups with adults, juveniles and infants of both sexesfreely associating with each other. There is a less pronounced dominance hierarchy in the bonobo’s social structure,and, unique among great apes, a greater prevalence of strong female-female bonding (as opposed to male-malebonding observed in common chimps). Bonobos are highly social. They have developed a set of ritualized socio-sexualbehaviors which are specific to their species. Sexual behaviors have evolved to function as social forces, and sexualbehaviors are displayed by individuals of all ages. For example, copulations are common between male and femaleadults

even when the female is not is estrus, there is a higher frequency of homosexual behavior among bonobos of allages, especially among adult females, and genital contact functions as social appeasement during times of grouptension. One special feature observed in bonobo society is the general lack of intraspecific aggression. Bonobos areless apt to engage in physical conflicts and intergroup confrontations. They are generally very peaceful. This isattributed to maintenance of their highly complex social repertoire. Bonobos mature at about seven to ten years incaptivity, and at about twelve to fourteen years in the wild. Females give birth to one infant approximately every four to five years. Gestation lasts about eight months. While the infant is dependent on its mother for its