Home Consciousness The Bonobos Are More Human Than We Are

The Bonobos Are More Human Than We Are

Recent studies of the Bonobos are teaching scientists that human kindness may not be limited to humans.

It has always been thought that mans altruistic behavior: his empathy, kindness and ability to reason were character traits unique to them and what separated them from similar dog-eat-dog species.

However, a new study of an endangered group of Great Apes is quickly skewing that point of view.

National Geographic published an article in these distant relatives of ours and how they are teaching scientists about the evolution of our human virtues.

Brian Hare and Jungzhi Tan are evolutionary anthropologist from Duke University. They’ve been studying Bonobis at Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary in Kinshasa, which is the Demicratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Most of the Bonobos there are young, orphaned ones that have been rescued due to human cruelty.

Bonobos are different from other nonhuman primates, including our other close relative the chimpanzee, because they are much more social and emphatic. They can coexist with strangers, share with those they are unfamiliar with and exhibit a phenomenon known as contagious yawning. They are also peaceful animals by nature.

This study is helping scientists to understand why humans will reach out to those in need that are not a part of their inner circle and why they can relate to the plight of people half a continent away. Tan told National Geographic that although, ” culture and education play a role in human altruism, the Bonobo findings support the theory that even the most extreme form of human tolerance and altruism is partly driven by our genes”.

  • Sharing Means Caring

A remarkable test was conducted to test how willing the Bonobos were to share. A Bonobo was placed in a cage with an empty cage attached to either side of the cage the subject was in. One side cage had a stranger and the other had a Bonbo familiar to the subject. The subject was given food and could eat it all them self or open one of the doors and share with either neighbor.

9 of the 14 Bonobos shared with the stranger first!

This study was enlightening because it showed the Bonobos will share even if they do not know when they will receive more supplies and will not benefit in any way or worse suffer for it. Hare and Tan also discovered through another experiment that Bonobos are the only nonhuman primate that can “catch” yawns like humans do. “Catching” yawns is considered an expression of empathy.

  • An Ironic Reality

Ironically these peaceful animals are being threatened by the very same people they are being compared to for having sensitivity and compassion for others: humans. The International Union For Conservation of Nature has listed them as endangers with fewer than 20,000 in existence.

It has become apparent that illegal Ape trading is running rampant between Africa and Asia. There are millions of Chines nationals in Africa helping the slave trade of these animals for use in zoos, circuses and other forms of human entertainment.

In addition the Chinese are consuming large quantities of bushmeat and keeping them as pets in Africa.

Terese Hart, director of the TL2 Project fir the Lukuru Wildlfie Research Foundation is based in central DRC says that although the demand from the Chinese isn’t helping, it is the use of Bonobos as bushmeat that is the major threat. ” A dead Bonobo goes for $50 and can feed a large family for days”.

Jo Thompsn, executive director of the Lukuru Wildlfie Research Foundation based in Kinasha echoes what Hart said: ” It is the bushmeat that is pushing these animals to the brink of extinction”.

Hare and Tan are trying to make people more aware of the perilous plight of the Bonobos. They hope that countries like China will show their compassionate side and stop consuming these exotic animals. They will attend Duke Kunshan University later this year to spread awareness. The livestock industries are wreaking havoc on our planet. We are not only wiping out entire species by consuming other animals, we are also destroying our forests, land air and water.

A plant based diet will not just save the Bonobos, it will save our planet and makes us healthier. Educate yourself and spread awareness on this issue.

Source: Collective-Evolution

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