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Famously Horny Bonobo Apes Prove Platonic Male/Female Friendship Is Possible

In the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally, actor Billy Crystal asserted that men and women can never be friends – because “the sex part always gets in the way.” That may be true for humans, but it’s not the case for one of our closest relatives, the Central A

Bonobo apes at a zoo in Jacksonville, Florida (RobBixbyPhotography)
Bonobo apes at a zoo in Jacksonville, Florida (RobBixbyPhotography)


*NEWSBITES

LEIPZIG - Central African bonobos may be one step ahead of human beings when it comes to male/female relationships. Among apes, they're arguably the horniest of the lot. And yet they demonstrate an amazing capacity for genuine friendship between males and females.

According to a new study by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, high-ranking dominant males in bonobo society often seek to develop non-sexual friendly relations with females. They show this by getting together with females they are not directly related to for mutual delousing sessions.

Even during courtship phases, male bonobos do not try and dominate females – girl power is the order of the day. The research also shows that these cross-gender friendships are particularly beneficial for male bonobos.

Bonobos are man's closest relation, and, like man, live in groups of males and females. And while humans too may use sex as a way of easing tensions, researcher Volker Sommer says that the sex lives of most humans pale in comparison to the repertoire and frequency of sexual relations among bonobos. Sex for bonobos is the currency that guarantees harmonious coexistence. The apes use their marked sexuality systematically to ensure peace and solve conflicts without violence.

The findings are outlined in a report recently published online in "Animal Behaviour" by researchers working with Gottfried Hohmann, Martin Surbeck and Tobias Dreschner of the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology.

For years, Hohmann has been leading a bonobo research project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There, in Salonga National Park south of the Congo River, the German researchers have been studying the behavior of a community of 33 to 35 apes.

Read the full article in German by Matthias Glaubrecht

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

Photo - RobBixbyPhotography

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Turkey Earthquake Toll Passes 5,000, BP’s Record Profits, Google’s ChatGPT Rival

Amid the rubble in Diyarbakir was a clock that appears to have stopped at the moment (4:17 a.m.) Monday, the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southeastern Turkey.

Ginevra Falciani, Inès Mermat and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 侬好*

Welcome to Tuesday, where the death toll in the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria rises past 5,000, energy giant BP registers record profits just days after Shell, and Google unveils its answer to ChatGPT. Meanwhile, Cefas Carvalho in Brazilian independent news agency Saiba Mas zeroes in on the particular vulnerability of older generations to the traps of fake news that is spread on the WhatsApp messaging platform.

[*Nóng hō - Shanghainese]

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