There are many intelligent animals all around the world. Some of them live in the water, others on the surface. Some of them are very different from us – humans, others are surprisingly similar. And, animals that are perhaps the closest to us, are bonobos. They are so intelligent and similar to us – that it’s almost a responsibility to discuss them. That being said, here’s 15 Unbelievable Facts About Bonobos.
- Bonobos and humans share about 98.7% of the same DNA, making them our closest animal relatives. Although, there is a debate whether they, or chimpanzees are closer to us, as both share a very similar percentage of DNA with us, but it seems that bonobos might have a tiny lead.
- Bonobos are great apes, not monkeys. Just like us – humans, chimpanzees, orangutans and gorillas.
- After humans, bonobos are the most bipedal primates in the world. They move on their hindquarters between 20% and 25% of the time when they are on the ground.
- Besides us, bonobos are very close relatives to chimps. In fact, scientists used to think that bonobos are just subspecies of chimps. They’re smaller than chimps, so they used to be called “pygmy chimpanzees”.
- They live in only one country – the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They inhabit the center of the Congo Basin, which is the largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon. The area that they live in is about 500,000 square kilometers or 193,000 square miles in size.
- The average lifespan of bonobos is 40 years in captivity. Their lifespan in the wild is not known.
- Average male bonobo weighs about 34 to 60 kilograms or 75 to 132 pounds. Average female bonobo weighs about 30 kilograms or 66 pounds. Also, average male can be up to 1.2 meters or 4 feet tall, whereas female – 1 meter or 3.3 feet tall.
- Both of their thumbs and big toes are opposable, which gives them a very strong and precise grip.
- Bonobos live on the ground and in the trees.
- They are omnivores. They consume fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouts, vegetation, mushrooms, leaves, flowers, bark, stems, pith, and roots. But they also eat small mammals, insects, earthworms, honey, eggs, and soil. Unlike chimpanzees who form hunting parties to hunt for prey, bonobos are a lot more passive and do not aggressively hunt mammals.
- Bonobos are social animals that have a matriarchal social hierarchy, meaning that they are led by females. Sometimes, female bonobos even form groups with each other to control certain dominant males. Overall, bonobo societies are pretty peaceful and egalitarian.
- Bonobos tend to live in groups of about 100 members, who split up into smaller groups during the day to search for food and come back to the same nesting area in the evening or night and go to sleep. They sleep in nests that they build in trees.
- Bonobos are the most vocal of the great apes, apart from humans, and they use a lot of complicated patterns of vocalizations to communicate detailed information. This communication system of bonobos includes a characteristic that was earlier only known in humans: they use the same sound to mean different things in different contexts.
- Bonobos are very sexual beings. Like, more sexual than most other animals. One of the reasons why bonobos are so peaceful, is because they tend to reduce any tensions through sex. They don’t just have sex to reproduce, but also to strengthen social bonds, relieve stress, anxiety and anger, as well as to receive food or even to move up in the social hierarchy.
- In fact, bonobos make love face to face and even sometimes use their tongues for various naughty actions. Heterosexual, homosexual – doesn’t matter, they just keep going at it. Any member of the group can have sex with any other member, with the only exception of mothers and their sons.
And that’s it about the majestic bonobos. Clearly, they are very similar to us in many ways. Not just when it comes to intelligence and communication, but also seemingly in their sexual behaviour. In fact, you might argue that they are even better than us, considering that no bonobo has ever been seen attacking or killing one of their own, unlike some other monkeys that we could mention, like chimps, gorillas and us – humans. I hope you’ve learned something new. And that concludes this 15 Unbelievable Facts About Bonobos article.