Monday, July 30, 2007
Best title I've read today: Bonobos: Free-loving hippies or chumps with better PR
Rather than blather for a few paragraphs on a summary of an article, here ya go. Okay, quick word. The perception that bonobos are all cuddly and oversexed is based on observations of a small group in captivity. They're extremely hard to find in the wild, but there is documented footage - I saw it when taking a primate psychology class with Franz DeWaal at Emory.
People seem to have the idea that they live without conflict, humping and boinking the days away in total bliss, but that's far from the case. They're actually very stressed and use sex where other primates use food or submissive behavior, but they can definitely be little brutal monkey bastards. There are plenty of possibilities for gigolo reputation - maybe they have better insight into their own savagery. They might have better knowledge of the consequences of an irate bonobo. From what I've seen, in a very limited number of videos, they attempt to quell conflicts immediately, almost frantically, making the prospect of good behavior by fear of reprisal more likely. Have to admit that I do like their form of currency! ("Excuse me. I ordered a non-fat latte." "Alright, come back here behind the counter...")
Why's this on a BCI blog. Cuz I like monkeys.