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Growing Up: Comparing Ontogeny of Bonobos and Chimpanzees

Growing Up: Comparing Ontogeny of Bonobos and Chimpanzees

(p.36) 2 Growing Up: Comparing Ontogeny of Bonobos and Chimpanzees
Chimpanzees in Context
Verena BehringerJeroen M. G. StevensTobias DeschnerGottfried Hohmann
University of Chicago Press

Bonobos and chimpanzees share developmental traits such as slow somatic growth, a long period of nutritional dependency, and a late onset of reproduction. However, there is also evidence for differences in the timing of somatic, social, and cognitive development. This chapter assesses the extent of heterochrony across developmental trajectories by comparing physiological markers affecting somatic growth, adrenarche, puberty, and metabolism. This study includes markers such as thyroid hormones and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein, which are indicative of somatic growth during the period between birth and puberty, as well as markers that relate to the induction and onset of reproductive maturation. Results are derived from cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of records from captive individuals representing a large number of groups that differ in size, demography, and genetic constitution. Although the results support the notion that development of the two species is heterochronic, they reveal a differentiated picture with bonobos being delayed in terms of somatic growth and chimpanzees being delayed in female sexual maturation. The temporal differences of development and maturation indicate species-differences in life history strategies. Long-term monitoring of development and maturation will provide the context for traits separating humans and primates as well as those that we share.

Keywords:   Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, development, physiological monitoring, life history, hormones

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