The Social Behavior of Chimpanzees and Bonobos: Empirical Evidence and Shifting Assumptions1

  title={The Social Behavior of Chimpanzees and Bonobos: Empirical Evidence and Shifting Assumptions1},
  author={Craig B. Stanford},
  journal={Current Anthropology},
  pages={399 - 420}
  • C. Stanford
  • Published 1 August 1998
  • Psychology
  • Current Anthropology
As our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos have been widely used as models of the behavior of early hominids. In recent years, as information on the social behavior and ecology of bonobos has come to light, many interspecific comparisons have been made. Chimpanzees have been characterized in terms of their intercommunity warfare, meat eating, infanticide, cannibalism, male status‐striving, and dominance over females. Bonobos, meanwhile, have been portrayed as the “Make love, not… 

Bonobo but not chimpanzee infants use socio-sexual contact with peers

It is suggested that the socio-sexual behavior previously observed in various captive and wild bonobos is species-typical, and wild-born bonobos originating from a large geographical range develop this behavior long before puberty and without the need for adults initiating such behavior or acting as models for observational learning.

The Chimpanzee Has No Clothes

An examination of four aspects of chimpanzee society that are prominent in discussions of human evolution—bipedal posture, tool use, cooperative hunting, and culture—indicates that other animals, even nonprimates, engage in analogous behaviors.

Differences between chimpanzees and bonobos in neural systems supporting social cognition.

It is suggested that this neural system not only supports increased empathic sensitivity in bonobos, but also behaviors like sex and play that serve to dissipate tension, thereby limiting distress and anxiety to levels conducive with prosocial behavior.

The Other “Closest Living Relative”: How Bonobos (Pan paniscus) Challenge Traditional Assumptions about Females, Dominance, Intra‐ and Intersexual Interactions, and Hominid Evolution

The bonobo evidence suggests that models of human evolution must be reformulated such that they also accommodate real and meaningful female bonds; the possibility of systematic female dominance over males; female mating strategies which encompass extra‐group paternities; hunting and meat distribution by females; the importance of the sharing of plant foods; affinitive inter‐community interactions.

‘Friendship’ for fitness in chimpanzees?

This proposal that primates trade social services for fitness benefits in their relationships with the opposite sex is tested in a colony of captive chimpanzees by examining behavioural data on grooming, agonistic support and food sharing in relation to genetically established paternity.

Chimpanzees and the Behavior of Ardipithecus ramidus

It is argued that the Ardipithecus fossils strongly support a chimpanzee model for early hominin behavioral ecology, and how paleoanthropologists may more realistically extrapolate from living apes to extinct hominoid behavior and ecology is suggested.

Female Coalitions Against Male Aggression in Wild Chimpanzees of the Budongo Forest

During a study of male and female aggressive interactions among chimpanzees of the Budongo Forest, Uganda, wild adult female chimpanzees sometimes formed coalitions with one another to retaliate against male aggression, strengthening the argument that at least some of the differences between chimpanzees and bonobos may be more of degree than of kind.

Ecological variation in cognition: Insights from bonobos and chimpanzees

This chapter argues that bonobo and chimpanzee cognition show psychological signatures of their divergent wild ecology, and linking comparative cognition to species’ natural foraging behavior can begin to address the ultimate reason for why differences in cognition emerge across species.



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THE following extract from a review in “Dodsley's Annual Register for 1767” of Dr. Adam Ferguson's essay on the “History of Civil Society” may be of interest:— “Many of the authors who have written

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