Bonobos are one of our closest relatives and share a lot of traits with us. They may look like chimpanzees but there are several features that distinguish them. Here are 15 facts that demonstrate this below:
1. Bonobos are native to only one country: the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are found in the Congo Basin which is the second largest rain-forest on earth.
2. They share about 98 percent of our DNA, making them one of our closest relatives genetically.
3. Due to their resemblance to chimpanzees, scientists once thought they were smaller versions of the Chimpanzees and named them “pygmy chimpanzee”.
4.These energetic primates are tree-dwellers. They spend a lot of time in the trees swinging from one branch to another.
5. Bonobos are omnivorous animals. They eat all kinds of foods including vegetables, fruits, sprouts and mushrooms. They also eat insects, worms, small mammals, and eggs. Unlike their cousins Chimpanzees, they are not aggressive hunters.
6. Female bonobos are the more dominant sex. They are highly social and often team up to control the males.
7. The word ‘bonobo’ has no meaning. It is believed that it was formed from the misspelling of ‘bolobo’, the main zone where bonobos are found.
8. They are classified as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Hunting and hazards to the environment pose a great threat to the bonobo population.
9. Interestingly, bonobos are known to treat themselves by ingesting and combining leaves as remedy for their ailments.
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10. Bonobos are highly sexual creatures. They have sex with members of the opposite sex as well as the same sex. Moreover, they can have sex for various reasons including pleasure, bonding, and relieve stress.
11. Though similar in appearance to chimpanzees, they are differentiated by their slender upper body, narrow shoulders, and long lower limbs.
12. Bonobos are incredibly smart. One male bonobo called Kanzi learned how to use primitive stones and tools similar to what early men used. It also discovered how to use a symbol-covered keyboard to communicate. It once roasted its marshmallows by pressing the symbols ”marshmallow” and “stick” on the keyboard.
13. Bonobos make use of different forms of vocalisations and gestures to communicate among themselves. Their calls can mean different things and they have to interpret within context to understand themselves.
14. Their brains are wired for empathy and other forms of socialising. These traits are also found in humans, whales and elephants. Chimps, on the other hand, do not possess these traits.
15. Bonobo infants take a longer time to develop than baby chimps. It takes about three years for them to start wandering farther away from their mothers.
What other facts do you know about these interesting primates? Tell us in the comment section below.