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Chimps “murder” but bonobos don’t because…

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Bonobo society is female-run and bonobos have a lot of sex. And there is supposed to be a message for humans in that: “And considering that both bonobos and chimpanzees are humans’ closest living relatives, each sharing roughly 99% of their DNA with us, it is a question whose answer could also reveal a lot about ourselves.”

From RealClearScience:

Bonobos are highly-intelligent primates that reside in a 190,000-square-mile area of the Congo Basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their peaceful nature is even more remarkable when compared to that of chimpanzees. Though the two species share the same genus and are almost physically identical to each other when viewed with an untrained eye, their behavior couldn’t be any more dissimilar when it comes to temperament. Over fifty-four years of study, scientists have witnessed chimpanzee killings on 152 occasions. During that same time period, there has been only one suspected murder amongst bonobos.

Murder? Are we saying that the poor creature is culpable? Do cats “murder” mice?

Or is the real point of using such language that human beings don’t really murder? Anyway:

Interestingly, though bonobos seem to have more “evolved” sensibilities, they may be lesser evolved than chimpanzees

“If this evolutionary scenario of ecological continuity is true, the bonobo may have undergone less transformation than either humans or chimpanzees,” ethologist Frans de Waal wrote in a 1995 issue of Scientific American. More.

Actually, the article—while informative—doesn’t tell us anything about human beings at all.

See also: Are apes entering the Stone Age?


Do chimpanzees have sacred rituals? These people need chimpanzees to have a religion really bad, though they probably don’t want one themselves.

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2 Replies to “Chimps “murder” but bonobos don’t because…

  1. 1
    Andre says:

    Bonobos blow survival of the fittest out of the water of course, but nobody seem to have noticed that…….

    And here is the age old circular argument…..

    Physical and behavioral differences between chimpanzees and bonobos evolved over millions of years. Roughly two million years ago, the two species were almost certainly one. But when the Congo River formed, the population was divided. To the north were the animals that eventually became chimpanzees. Hardened by living in relatively open, dry habitats, they competed for food and resources. To the south were the animals that became bonobos. There, in humid forests with abundant food and cover, they did not need to compete. So traits that fostered cooperation and generosity grew more prevalent.

    Survival of the fittest applies, unless it does not apply……

    Then we have this howler……

    Evolution does not make species more advanced, it simply makes them better suited to their environment. If there’s one thing that the divide between chimpanzees and bonobos illustrates, it’s that all lifeforms are molded by where they live.

    What did Darwin never say?

    “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

    Except Darwin never ever said that, so why are these guys doing it?.

  2. 2
    bilander says:

    Do chimps commit ‘murder’ or is murder a human endeavor?

    murder: unlawful premeditated killing of a human being by a human being.

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