Joined: Jan. 2006
At some bar off of 1st down by the key arena, I was having a beer with a guy who had the most amazing head you've ever seen. Anyway, we were wondering about bonobos, in a very general sort of way. Both of us agreed it could be an interesting thread topic and with this:
|Occasionally, the role of sex in relation to food is taken one step further, bringing bonobos very close to humans in their behavior. It has been speculated by anthropologists-- including C. Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University and Helen Fisher of Rutgers University--that sex is partially separated from reproduction in our species because it serves to cement mutually profitable relationships between men and women. The human female's capacity to mate throughout her cycle and her strong sex drive allow her to exchange sex for male commitment and paternal care, thus giving rise to the nuclear family.|
This arrangement is thought to be favored by natural selection because it allows women to raise more offspring than they could if they were on their own. Although bonobos clearly do not establish the exclusive heterosexual bonds characteristic of our species, their behavior does fit important elements of this model. A female bonobo shows extended receptivity and uses sex to obtain a male's favors when--usually because of youth--she is too low in social status to dominate him.
At the San Diego Zoo, I observed that if Loretta was in a sexually attractive state, she would not hesitate to approach the adult male, Vernon, if he had food. Presenting herself to Vernon, she would mate with him and make high- pitched food calls while taking over his entire bundle of branches and leaves. When Loretta had no genital swelling, she would wait until Vernon was ready to share. Primatologist Suehisa Kuroda reports similar exchanges at Wamba: "A young female approached a male, who was eating sugarcane. They copulated in short order, whereupon she took one of the two canes held by him and left."
And it got me thinking about the chimp/ bonobo divide and whether anyone here knows anything about it or knows of something interesting on the web.
Also, regarding phylogenies, I remember reading somewhere (could have been yesterday or 30 years ago, not sure) that because of the genetic similarities between human /chimp human/bonobo and bonobo/chimp that the genus homo might be better off simply being pan but I don't remember like I said. Anything?
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