Young bonobos comfort with hugs
Original story at BBC Nature• 3 mentions • 10 months ago
BBC Nature 10 months ago
Although bonobos are known as the "empathic" apes, researchers previously thought that comforting behaviour was too complex for juveniles to grasp.But studies at the Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary in DR Congo, revealed that the youngsters often consoled the losers of social squabbles.Researchers also found that apes raised by their mothers were more likely to offer comfort than orphans.Dr Zanna Clay, from Emory University in Atlanta, US undertook the study at the centre, near Kinshasa. The sanctuary rehabilitates rescued bonobos and is the largest of its kind in the world."I've spent a long time observing bonobos over the years, and have often noticed how much juvenile bonobos approach victims to comfort them," Dr Clay told BBC Nature. "This is why I found it surprising that the ape literature has really only focussed on consolation in mature individuals, it hasn't been really looked at before in juveniles."Bonobos are well known for their close relationships and peace-keeping behaviour, including sexual activity to help relieve tensions.However, the process of consoling a distressed fellow ape following conflict was considered to be a complex behaviour, requiring sophisticated cognitive skills.Scientists thought immature bonobos that do not have the experience of adult apes, would not be able to discern what the appropriate behaviour should be in these circumstances.