Bonobos as Model for Human Behavior

The bonobo, or pan paniscus is a very unique, and relatively unknown member of the primate family. They share many of the same physical features and genetic makeup as their relative the chimpanzee, and are so similar that they are commonly known as pygmy chimpanzees. Bonobos however, vary in quite a number of ways from their relative the chimpanzee and these differences will be discussed in detail through this essay as well as how similar our behavior is in many respects as these exceptional creatures.
Bonobos are a relatively newfound species with the official discovery coming in 1928 by American anatomist Harold Coolidge. He was studying the skull of what was believed to be a juvenile chimpanzee, however slight but distinct differences in the structure led him to believe that the skull was something other than a chimpanzee, it was a bonobo. This discovery eventually led anatomists, anthropologists, and other researchers to the left bank of the Congo River where the bonobos are native (figure1). The surrounding area is populated by chimpanzees and gorillas, so for the most part bonobos were largely lost in the fray, or mistaken for chimpanzees. It was not until the distinction was made between the two that researchers began to find out the difference between these two intriguing creatures.
As stated earlier bonobos are native to the left bank of the Congo River, which is an area that is almost exclusively habituated by these apes, other primates such as monkeys reside there however. The areas east, west, and north are all home to different types of chimpanzees as well as gorillas. The surrounding river provides a sort of moat that keeps the area exclusive to the bonobos. This area is approximately 1000 km east to west and 750 km north to south, which provides almost a little kingdom of bonobos. Within this habitat the bonobos predominantly consume fruits as the major part of their diet. Bonobos also eat foods such as pith, leave…

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