Jacqueline Conciatore

The endangered bonobo: Africa's forgotten ape

AWF | July 21st, 2019 | Visit the original article online

Wildlife enthusiasts generally know a lot about our closest cousins in the natural world, chimpanzees. But often they know less about a primate that is equally close and just as fascinating — the bonobo, “the forgotten ape."

Like chimpanzees, bonobos share more than 98 percent of DNA with humans. But bonobos, though sometimes violent, are more peaceable. They live in matriarchal groups and famously use sex as a social tool — to manage conflict and tension or even just say “hello.” This behavior aligns bonobos with humans, who also notably have sex for reasons besides reproduction — emotional bonding, for example. Because of bonobos’ mellow ways, some call these great apes “hippie chimps” — the primates that make love, not war.