Wild bonobos, like all Great Apes, spend long childhoods with their mothers, learning the skills they need to function as socially and emotionally stable members of their community.
But orphaned bonobos at sanctuaries don’t have that kind of upbringing. Can they still learn the skills they need to get by in bonobo society?
Zanna Clay and Frans de Waal have been investigating the social development of bonobos: their results were published this week in PNAS. They found that the mother-infant bond is vital in developing healthy social and emotional skills.
Frans de Waal is well known for his popular science books about chimpanzee and bonobo behaviour. He has conducted almost 40 years of ground-breaking research into primate cognition, recognising and demonstrating the existence of emotion, cooperation, altruism, Machiavellian Intelligence, conflict resolution and more in our closest living relatives – chimpanzees and bonobos.
Written By: Carla Litchfield
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