Cooperation between different groups of humans is at the root of our social norms, traditions, and culture. A group of great apes called bonobos may also cooperate with other groups, according to some researchers. The study was published Nov. 16 in the journal science.
[Related: Bonobo ladies get to choose their mates and boy oh boy are they picky.]
Bonobos, along with chimpanzees, are some of our closest living relatives. Studying their relationships helps scientists reconstruct what human traits are more innate and how they evolve. However, both primate species exhibit different levels of cooperation despite living in similar social groups with multiple adults of both sexes.
chimpanzees seem to have more adversarial relationships between different groups. Even deadly aggression is not uncommon. This hostility has led researchers to believe that intergroup conflict is an innate part of human nature.
Bonobos may be telling a different story about how social structures and communities evolved over time.
“Being able to study how cooperation emerges in species so closely related to humans challenges existing theory and, at the very least, provides insight into the conditions that foster cooperation between groups over conflict. ” said study co-author Liran Samni, an evolutionary biologist at the German Primate Center. stated in a statement.
of study The researchers observed two groups of 31 wild bonobos over two years in the Kokoropoli Bonobo Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When different groups of bonobos came together, they often fed, rested, and traveled together.
“As we tracked and observed multiple groups of bonobos at Kokoropoli, we were struck by the surprising level of tolerance between members of different groups,” Samni said. “This tolerance paves the way for prosocial cooperative behaviors such as forming alliances and sharing food between groups, which is in stark contrast to what we see in chimpanzees.”
The authors also Lethal aggression observed in chimpanzees. Bonobos did not interact randomly between groups. Cooperation took place only among a few selected group members.
“They preferentially interact with certain members of other groups who are more likely to return the favor, and as a result, prosocial individuals A strong bond is created between them.” stated in a statement. “Such connections are also an important aspect of the cooperation found in human societies. Bonobos can extend sociability and cooperative behavior to outgroup members while maintaining peaceful relationships between groups. It shows us that abilities are not unique to humans.”
[Related: Humans owe our evolutionary success to friendship.]
Cooperation between groups of humans leads to the exchange of ideas, knowledge, innovation, and resources. The bonobos studied shared food resources between groups without strong cultural influences. The authors believe that this Shared culture and characteristics are A group of people working together.
The study also highlights the importance of collaboration when studying bonobos, which live in remote and largely inaccessible areas of protected areas.
“The study of this fascinating species has been made possible through strong collaboration and support from the Mongandu residents of Kokopoli, where bonobos roam in their ancestral forests.” said Mr. Subek, who directs the. “Research facilities like Kokoropoli not only make a significant contribution to understanding the biology and evolutionary history of this species, but also play an important role in the conservation of this endangered species.”