9 Stories

That Bonobo That Likes You? It Really Thinks You're a Jerk

Scientists say this ape species appears to prefer 'hinderers' to 'helpers'

(Newser) - Scientists have long wondered about the "prosocial" activity of bonobos, noting how the apes appear to be more sharing and cooperative than other primates such as chimps, per the Los Angeles Times . But humans may still have them beat after a new study out of Duke University suggests bonobos... More »

Bonobos Are Closest Humans Can Get to a 'Living Ancestor'

New study finds bonobos' anatomy has more in common with humans than chimps

(Newser) - A study published this month in Scientific Reports found bonobos have more in common—anatomically speaking—with human ancestors than they do with common chimpanzees. And that's pretty interesting for modern humans. "They are the closest we can get to having a 'living' ancestor," professor of... More »

Bonobos Have This in Common With Human Babies

They too use identical noises that function in various contexts

(Newser) - Humans aren't the only species to speak baby talk, apparently. A new study published in the journal Peer J finds our closest living relatives communicate using high-pitched calls or "peeps" strangely similar to the sounds made by human babies before they can talk. Researcher Zanna Clay of the... More »

Gifts Also Rule Animal Kingdom

They offer piggyback rides, share food

(Newser) - Many species of animals are just as into gift-giving as we are, though they may be better at avoiding that last-minute shopping rush. Often, the New York Times explains, the presents are tied to mating. "This is an incredibly cool and important topic in sexual selection that we’re... More »

Medical Chimp-Testing May Be Over

Congress reviewing bill to ban all ape testing

(Newser) - Chimpanzees: valuable test subjects, or caged relatives who deserve better treatment? With a ban on all ape-testing now in Congress, the controversial practice dating back to the 1920s may soon be over, the New York Times reports. “Now is the time to get these chimps out of invasive research... More »

Our Brains Are Shrinking

But do smaller brains mean we are getting dumber, or less aggressive?

(Newser) - Today's human brain is 10% smaller than that of our Cro-Magnon ancestors, but scientists are divided on whether that means we are getting smarter or dumber. Some say it does represent a dumbing down, but that our increasingly complex society means individuals don't need as much intelligence to survive and... More »

Chimps Shake Heads 'No'

Scientists spot decidedly familiar gesture

(Newser) - Saying “no” by shaking our heads back and forth may just be a habit we inherited from our evolutionary precursors. Researchers have filmed Bonobo chimps at the Leipzig Zoo shaking their heads in much the same way, the BBC reports. In one film, for example, a mother shakes her... More »

Gorillas: Maybe Not as Gentle as We Thought

Ape vegetarian in the wild, but can turn carnivore in captivity

(Newser) - King Kong aside, gorillas have somehow been able to hold onto their reputations as gentle giants, while myths about the belligerent chimpanzee and the promiscuous bonobo have long since been dispelled. But with new research into ape behavior, the last fable may fall, the Economist reports after primatologists studied apes... More »

Scientists Rethink the Bonobo

Bonobos are not the solution to all of life's problems

(Newser) - Bonobos—the chimp cousins revered by generations of naturalists for their peaceful, playful, apparently even eco-conscious attitudes—may not be quite as groovy as we've been led to believe. Much of the cult of bonobo has been built around data from animals in captivity, where, as one scientist says, "... More »

9 Stories