The Bonobo’s Adaptive Potential: Social Relations under Captive Conditions
By the end of the 1990s, the reputation of bonobos as a peaceful, egalitarian ape with strong female dominance through female bonding was firmly established (de Waal 1995; de Waal and Lanting 1997; Parish and de Waal 2000; de Waal 2001). Stanford (1998) questioned this reputation, and stated that our knowledge on bonobos lagged behind our knowledge of chimpanzees, because the latter has been studied for a longer span and at more study sites. Knowledge about bonobos stems mainly from captive studies which may not be representative (Stanford 1998). Stanford (1998), Franz (1999) and Hohmann et al. (1999) pointed out that the reported strong female bonds of captive bonobos (Parish 1994, 1996, Parish and de Waal 2000) may be a side effect of life in captivity, similar to chimpanzee females in captivity, wherein similar female bonds occur (de Waal 1982, Baker and Smuts 1994). It certainly cannot be denied that captivity affects behavior, especially in species with fission-fusion systems, such as chimpanzees and bonobos (de Waal 1994). In the wild they form temporary subgroups, “parties,” whose composition changes constantly (Van Elsacker et al. 1995). However, in captivity, chimpanzees and bonobos are usually kept in stable groups (but see Fortunato and Berman, this volume), which will certainly influence their social relations. Since the two species, kept under similar conditions, display different behavioral strategies, captive studies can also provide conclusive data on interspecific differences (de Waal 1994).
KeywordsDominance Hierarchy Dominance Rank Dominance Relationship Captive Condition Captive Group
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