Belfast Telegraph

We could do a lot worse than ape the bonobo ...

By Robert McNeil

I want you to consider the following word for a moment: bonobo. Even as I speak, it's echoing through your bonce and fading, fading, fading.

It means nothing to you? You should be ashamed of yourself, as the bonobo is one of your closest primate relatives.

Not only that but it could show us all a thing or two about how to behave. Experiments by people with nothing better to do reveal that bonobos were more likely to share their food than opt to dine alone, even when they were hungry. The tests have an added piquancy when you consider that the bonobos in the experiment were orphans. Humans, quite probably, had eaten their parents.

Bonobos are far from perfect — they can't whistle, for example — but, in terms of civilisation, the teleprinter of evolution is rattling up the half-time score: bonobos 1 v humans 0.

Belfast Telegraph


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