Bonobos Caring for Group Members

bricklyn 2012/08/11 17:29:38

There are quite a few social animals in the world, but few species go
out of their way to act as a group to help or care for group members
that are injured or distressed. Humans are the biggest exception and now
we can add bonobos to that short list.

Why are Bonobos different from other primates when it comes to this
behavior? Researchers think that being led by females may be the key.

As soon as the other group members realised the male was trapped, they
gathered around him. One untangled the snare from woody ground vines,
enabling the male to move. Another tried and failed to remove the wire.
Later in the day, the bonobos returned to the dry forest to sleep. The
injured male could not follow.

The next morning, to the researchers' surprise, the bonobos travelled
almost 2 kilometres back to where they had last seen their injured
friend. The animals had already ruled out the area as a good source of
fruit, suggesting they went back just to find him. He had moved on, but
rejoined the group six weeks later

Source: New Scientist, 10 March 2012

It's important to remember that caring for group members is believed
to be one of the key behavioral traits which allowed our species to
develop to the point that it has. It leads to stronger, more cohesive
groups -- and when it's older members that are cared for, it leads to
the preservation and eventual transmission of important cultural

Bonobos are apparently very interested in the emotional states of
other group members. This, in turn, is thought to be related to their
matriarchal power structure. The females are responsible for rearing and
caring for the infants and this might translate into a greater interest
in caring for all members of the group, even if they aren't blood

Knowing the reasons could be useful because whatever is making
Bonobos different here might be a clue as to how and why humans were
also different. It's not a certainty that the reasons would be the same,
but it would make a good place to start looking.

Read More: http://atheism.about.com/b/2012/08/02/bonobos-cari...

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  • Skylaris Alanis 2012/08/11 19:32:16
    Skylaris Alanis
    how cute (:
  • Chukroast 2012/08/11 19:07:23
    They're interesting creatures. I'm thinking that Clive Cussler wrote a fiction story that included Bonobos. Can anybody help me with the name?
  • westernslope~PWCM~JLA 2012/08/11 17:39:01
    what - don't think more study of animals is necessary. there are plenty inside the beltway
  • bricklyn western... 2012/08/11 18:02:40
    There are many animal studies to confirm that they do take care of their own. Elephants have a long history of doing it and so do Chimpanzees and Whales.
  • western... bricklyn 2012/08/11 18:10:22
    so do many homo sapiens
  • bricklyn western... 2012/08/11 19:39:53

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