Chimpanzees, Bonobos, and the Diversity of Animal Behavior


Written by Joseph Dunsay. After earning a Masters of Science in Ecology and Evolution, Joseph Dunsay became a science writer for international audiences. For more Jewrotica writing by Joseph, check out The Disadvantages of Polygyny Make Couples Choose Monogamy, The Scientific Opinion Regarding Gender Specific Brains is Mixed, The Roman Empire Left an Imprint on Jewish Genes, Teledildonics May Help Jewish Husbands Travel, Madness and Humanity’s Gene Pool, The Significance of Secondary Sex Characteristics, Changing Views Towards Anal Sex, Jewish Genetic Links to East Asia and South Asia, The Morality of Creating Designer Babies, and Parents, the State, and the Reproductive Health of Minors.

Rated PG

This past winter, Moti, a chimpanzee from Israel, wandered away from his home in South Africa’s National Zoological Gardens. According to an eyewitness, he peacefully meandered down the street observing local humans and vehicles as residents gawked and took pictures of him. After an unsuccessful attempt to scare him back into the zoo with a dog, employees eventually tranquilized him and brought him back to the zoo.

Moti’s docile nature is a testament to the good care he must have received by staff in Israel. A study of 18 chimpanzee groups and four bonobo groups found that chimpanzees are relatively prone to violent behavior. Researchers documented 152 cases of chimpanzees killing chimpanzees and 53 suspected killings. While chimpanzees spend only a small percentage of their time being aggressive towards fellow chimpanzees, that species is no stranger to violence. In contrast, there were no observed or inferred cases of bonobos killing bonobos, although researchers reported one suspected bonobo killing.

Bonobos are famous for making love, not war. Cosmo praised the emotional intelligence of bonobos and said they are less aggressive and competitive than either humans or chimpanzees. They live in groups ruled by females and handle conflicts by grooming each other and having non-procreative sex. Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands confirmed this information by showing bonobos pictures of other bonobos. They found that subjects paid the most attentions to pictures of other bonobos having sex or grooming each other, suggesting that humans are not the only primates interested pornographic images.

Recreational sex is incorporated into a bonobo’s daily routine. When bonobos greet each other, before they eat, and when they meet someone new, they engage in sexual behaviors. Casual heterosexual and homosexual liaisons are a common element in their social lives. Pairs of males will hang upside down from tree branches and rub their penises together. Primatologists call this behavior “penis fencing”. Bisexuality is the norm for bonobos.

Humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos are closely related species, and yet, they have very different habits. With such diverse behavioral strategies among species that share so much DNA, one can only imagine the variety of behaviors within the entire animal kingdom. Each species evolved to behave differently from other species so that its behavior could fit its niche on the planet. That is why animal mating habits make for interesting stories but provide little in the way of guiding human sexual decisions. Chimpanzees tend to fight. Bonobos tend to have sex. Humans can think carefully before jumping into either situation.

After earning a Masters of Science in Ecology and Evolution, Joseph Dunsay became a science writer for international audiences. His LGBT erotic e-book launched in the summer of 2015.