Bonobos, and eating better together

March 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

I walked through my living room on Saturday morning, where NPR was playing as it often is, and I overheard a scientist explaining his recent work on bonobo apes (close relatives of chimpanzees and humans).  The sentence, “they prefer to eat together,” caught my ear and made me stop in my path, instantly forgetting whatever chore it was I was on my way to do.

It turns out that the researchers had found that  bonobos, when given the choice between having a whole pile of food to themselves or letting another bonobo (not a relative) in from a neighboring room, prefer to let in the other bonobo to share the meal with them.  This stands in contrast to chimpanzees, who also share food but only when they want another chimp to stop harassing them.

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