These apes supposedly have inordinate amounts of sex and never fight. Can this appealing story really be true? Reputation: Bonobos are miniature, sharing, caring chimps, living in hippie communes with no aggression and lots of sex. Reality: Not really. Bonobos are roughly the same size as chimps, can be aggressive and use sex in very specific contexts.
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At a juncture in history during which women are seeking equality with men, science arrives with a belated gift to the feminist movement. Male-biased evolutionary scenarios--Man the Hunter, Man the Toolmaker and so on--are being challenged by the discovery that females play a central, perhaps even dominant, role in the social life of one of our nearest relatives. In the past two decades many strands of knowledge have come together concerning a relatively unknown ape with an unorthodox repertoire of behavior: the bonobo. The bonobo is one of the last large mammals to be found by science. The creature was discovered in in a Belgian colonial museum, far from its lush African habitat.
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The theoretical debate over the relative contributions of nature and nurture to sexual differentiation of behavior has increasingly moved towards an interactionist explanation requiring both influences. In practice, however, nature and nurture have often been seen as separable, influencing human clinical sex assignment decisions, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Effects of the social environment and gender expectations in human cultures are ubiquitous, overshadowing potential underlying biological contributions in favor of the more observable social influences. Recent work in nonhuman primates showing behavioral sex differences paralleling human sex differences, including toy preferences, suggests that less easily observed biological factors also influence behavioral sexual differentiation in both monkeys and humans. We review research, including Robert W.
Over the past few decades, American society has increased its tolerance and acceptance of differing sexualities. Among the primate order , homosexual behavior is most frequently observed in bonobos. However, it also occurs in other species, such as Japanese macaques and capuchin monkeys. Recent observations of homosexual behavior in male spider monkeys adds to our knowledge of these behaviors and may help us answer questions about the evolutionary functions homosexual behaviors may play, as well as allow us to consider if other animals have sexual orientations similar to the identities that humans construct.