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Social Behavior and Social Tolerance in Chimpanzees and Bonobos

Social Behavior and Social Tolerance in Chimpanzees and Bonobos

Chapter:
(p.95) 4 Social Behavior and Social Tolerance in Chimpanzees and Bonobos
Source:
Chimpanzees in Context
Author(s):
Jared P. TaglialatelaSara A. SkibaRobert E. EvansStephanie L. BogartNatalie G. Schwob
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226728032.003.0004

Studying similarities and differences in socio-communicative behavior between chimpanzees and bonobos is critical to our understanding of the evolution of human sociality and communication. Despite their shared phylogeny and comparable morphology, the two species exhibit notable differences in socio-communicative behavior. Similarities in feeding ecology likely played a crucial role in selecting for the advanced cognitive abilities of both species. However, differences in feeding ecology may have also led to divergence in socio-communicative behavior. This chapter reviews the literature comparing chimpanzee and bonobo sociality in both captive and field settings and presents data comparing chimpanzee and bonobo social behavior in captive settings. These data indicate that bonobos in captivity are more likely to be in direct physical proximity of group members and spend more time grooming than chimpanzees. In addition, experimental data indicate chimpanzees are in closer proximity to conspecifics during social foraging tasks and share food more often than bonobos. These results suggest that while bonobos may be more social than chimpanzees, chimpanzees may be more socially tolerant during feeding. Further study of the differences in the socio-communicative behavior of the two species most closely related to humans will continue to provide invaluable insight into our own evolution.

Keywords:   social behavior, communication, tolerance, chimpanzees, bonobos, evolution

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