This remarkable primate with the curious name is challenging established views on human evolution. The bonobo, least known of the great apes, is a female-centered, egalitarian species that has been dubbed the 'make-love-not-war' primate by specialists. In bonobo society, females form alliances to intimidate males, sexual behavior (in virtually every partner combination) replaces aggression and serves many social functions, and unrelated groups mingle instead of fighting. The species' most striking achievement is not tool use or warfare but sensitivity to others. In the first book to combine and compare data from captivity and the field, Frans de Waal, a world-renowned primatologist, and Frans Lanting, an internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, present the most up-to-date perspective available on the bonobo. Focusing on social organization, de Waal compares the bonobo with its better-known relative, the chimpanzee. The bonobo's relatively nonviolent behavior and the tendency for females to dominate males confront the evolutionary models derived from observing the chimpanzee's male power politics, cooperative hunting, and intergroup warfare.
Further, the bonobo's frequent, imaginative sexual contacts, along with its low reproduction rate, belie any notion that the sole natural purpose of sex is procreation. Humans share over 98 percent of their genetic material with the bonobo and the chimpanzee. Is it possible that the peaceable bonobo has retained traits of our common ancestor that we find hard to recognize in ourselves? Eight superb full-color photo essays offer a rare view of the bonobo in its native habitat in the rain forests of Zaire as well as in zoos and research facilities. Additional photographs and highlighted interviews with leading bonobo experts complement the text. This book points the way to viable alternatives to male-based models of human evolution and will add considerably to debates on the origin of our species. Anyone interested in primates, gender issues, evolutionary psychology, and exceptional wildlife photography will find a fascinating companion in "Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape".
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(254mm x 216mm x 22mm)
University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Most people have never even heard of the bonobo, the fourth ape. Yet it is one of our closest relatives and eerily mirrors humans in many different ways. Scientists are only just beginning to explore the details of its natural history, but it has already been dubbed the 'make-love-not-war' primate because of its peaceful nature and extraordinary sensitivity towards others. This wonderful book is the first popular profile of the endangered bonobo ever written. Incredibly comprehensive, it is illustrated in both colour and black and white, with photographs taken in the remote rainforests of Zaire as well as in the few zoos with captive populations. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Franz de Waal
Frans de Waal is C. H. Candler Professor of Psychology, Emory University, and Director of Living Links, Yerkes Primate Center. He is the author of several books, including Chimpanzee Politics (1982) and Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals(1996). Frans Lanting is one of the world's leading nature photographers and the recipient of many prestigious awards. His work appears regularly in National Geographic, Life, and other magazines. His books include Okavango: Africa's Last Eden (1993), Madagascar: A World out of Time (1990), and Forgotten Edens (1993).