Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bonobos Will Treat You Right and Not Like those Damn Chimpanzees #Science #Ethology #Sex

Two baby bonobos.

Credit: © gudkovandrey / Fotolia

Bonobos have a reputation for being the peaceful, free-loving hippies of the primate world. But, researchers reporting in Current Biology on July 10 have discovered that despite friendly relations between the sexes, particular males have a surprisingly strong advantage over others when it comes to fathering offspring. For example, researchers found in one group that the most reproductively successful bonobo male fathered more than 60 percent of the next generation.

Science Daily:  In fathering, peace-loving bonobos don't spread the love

There was a throwaway line which floated about for a while, who's your daddy, and it seems in this bonobo group they can point to one male to say, "He was."

I hadn't heard so much about bonobos as peaceful hippies but rather the ones with the greatest enthusiasm for sex in the world of primates.  Humans like to think we're so sexy but we're amateurs.

The findings show that the reproductive skew -- the extent to which a single male versus many males sires offspring -- is much higher among bonobos than it is in male-dominated and more aggressive chimpanzees. While the reasons behind that skew aren't yet entirely clear, the researchers suspect that it may come down to a tendency for many females to choose to mate with the same attractive male.

"The funny thing under such a scenario would be that most of the females would have the same preference for Camillo, the alpha male and 'Brad Pitt' of the bonobos at our research site," says Martin Surbeck of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

- SD

So there's the good news and the bad news, mates.  If you're hot like Brad Pitt among bonobos then you will meet lots of chicks but otherwise your life won't change all that much and you will still be drinking beer while you watch cage fights on TV.

Surbeck and colleagues, including Kevin Langergraber at Arizona State University's School of Human Evolution and Social Change and ASU's Institute of Human Origins, have a long-standing interest in bonobo society and particularly in the relationships between males and females. Bonobos are known for their friendly nature and lack of aggression. In that friendly setting, bonobo males often seem to invest in friendly relationships with particular females. The researchers wondered whether those "friendships" were leading to greater paternity success for those males.

- SD

Bonobo charm ... learn some of that, mates.

The researchers had hypothesized that bonobo females' freedom to choose their mates would mean a more balanced distribution of paternity amongst males in the group. But they found just the opposite. While more work is needed to explore the reasons behind that skew, the researchers say, "if female choice is the mechanisms behind our observation, all females seem to prefer more or less the same male."

- SD

Even in a peaceful and egalitarian world, the chicks all line up for the Big Kahuna, the Brad Pitt of the beach.

Ed:  are you heading up to a moral of the story?

Nooooo but there's more in the article for the interested student.


Anonymous said...

Pretty sure they are in the middle of the Monkey Selfie lawsuit
I hope they have a great legal team

Peas InOurThyme said...

Making a career out of doing nothing is some kind of survival skill, I suppose. Twisted.