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Bonobo: Peace Through Pleasure - Behavior

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  • The human and the bonobo share 98% of the same genes.  Therefore, many scientists believe they are a good resource for studying the behavior of human evolution.  The bonobo provides a good model for our early human ancestors.
  • The bonobo also has similar social and sexual behaviors when compared to the human.  The bonobo is the only non-human primate to have face-to-face genital sex.  They have also been seen tongue kissing and having oral sex, as well. Bonobos are able to communicate to one another using primary vocal means, but humans have not yet been able to decipher what they are saying. 
  • Humans can understand their facial expressions and hand gestures.  Humans have been able to teach bonobos in captivity a large amount of vocabulary words.  These bonobos are also able to understand complete sentences.  Bonobos are also known to tickle one another and laugh about it.  Finally, these animals are able to recognize themselves in a mirror. 
  • Bonobo sex often occurs in aggressive context, not related to food (as seen in chimps) A jealous male will often chasse away a different male from a female, but they will then reunite and engage in scrotum rubbing between each other.
  • It was also noticed that after two females fight they will engage in genital rubbing, to reconcile their fight.
  • “My study yielded the first solid evidence for sexual behavior as a mechanism to overcome aggression. Not that this function is absent in other animals--or in humans, for that matter--but the art of sexual reconciliation may well have reached its evolutionary peak in the bonobo. For these animals, sexual behavior is indistinguishable from social behavior. Given its peacemaking and appeasement functions, it is not surprising that sex among bonobos occurs in so many different partner combinations, including between juveniles and adults. The need for peaceful coexistence is obviously not restricted to adult heterosexual pairs.”

Bonobo Peace Through Pleasure Behavior

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