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Worldcrunch

Famously Horny Bonobo Apes Prove Platonic Male/Female Friendship Is Possible

In the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, actor Billy Crystal asserted that men and women can never be friends – because “the sex part always gets in the way.” That may be true for humans, but it’s not the case for one of our closest relatives, the Central African Bonobo.

Article illustrative image Partner logo Bonobo apes at a zoo in Jacksonville, Florida (RobBixbyPhotography)


*NEWSBITES

LEIPZIG - Central African bonobos may be one step ahead of human beings when it comes to male/female relationships. Among apes, they’re arguably the horniest of the lot. And yet they demonstrate an amazing capacity for genuine friendship between males and females.

According to a new study by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, high-ranking dominant males in bonobo society often seek to develop non-sexual friendly relations with females. They show this by getting together with females they are not directly related to for mutual delousing sessions.

Even during courtship phases, male bonobos do not try and dominate females – girl power is the order of the day. The research also shows that these cross-gender friendships are particularly beneficial for male bonobos.

Bonobos are man’s closest relation, and, like man, live in groups of males and females. And while humans too may use sex as a way of easing tensions, researcher Volker Sommer says that the sex lives of most humans pale in comparison to the repertoire and frequency of sexual relations among bonobos. Sex for bonobos is the currency that guarantees harmonious coexistence. The apes use their marked sexuality systematically to ensure peace and solve conflicts without violence.

The findings are outlined in a report recently published online in “Animal Behaviour” by researchers working with Gottfried Hohmann, Martin Surbeck and Tobias Dreschner of the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology.

For years, Hohmann has been leading a bonobo research project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There, in Salonga National Park south of the Congo River, the German researchers have been studying the behavior of a community of 33 to 35 apes.

Read the full article in German by Matthias Glaubrecht

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

Photo - RobBixbyPhotography

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About this article source Website: http://www.welt.de/

Die Welt (“The World”) is a German daily founded in Hamburg in 1946, and currently owned by the Axel Springer AG company, Europe's largest publishing house. Now based in Berlin, Die Welt is sold in more than 130 countries. A Sunday edition called Welt am Sonntag has been published since 1948.

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