Bonobos Establishing Social Status

Fabiana Cabral (Core ‘08, CAS ‘10), a member of the EnCore steering committee, writes:

Students of Core versed in the second semester of the Natural Sciences will no doubt remember the sharp comparisons in CC106 between the aggressive behavior of chimpanzees and the frisky alternative attitudes of their gentle bonobo cousins. The WEEK Magazine reports a study indicating that besides engaging in sex to resolve conflicts and blow off steam, bonobos also have sex to climb up the social ladder. Apparently, lower-ranking female bonobos emit calls during sex to show off to other females (particularly high-ranking ones). This helps establish new females in a group as desirable and worth notice.

But as a good former Core student, you’d do well to remember the link above is from a secondary source article, and has thus been modified to sound more entertaining and omit pesky scientific details. The primary source article can be found here.

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