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Historically known as the pygmy chimpanzee, the bonobo (Pan paniscus) is among the endangered great apes that are found only south of the Congo River and north of the Kasai River. One of the closest living relatives of humans, bonobos are distinguished for their long legs, pink lips, and dark face.
See the fact file below for more information on the bonobo or alternatively, you can download our 19-page Bonobo worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
ETYMOLOGY AND TAXONOMY
- Although its common name is “pygmy chimpanzee,” the bonobo is not really small in size when compared to the common chimpanzee, with an exemption of its head.
- The term “bonobo” was first used in 1954, when Austrian zoologist Eduard Paul Tratz and German biologist Heinz Heck suggested it as another generic term for pygmy chimpanzees.
- The name might have been derived from a misspelling on a shipping crate from the town of Bolobo located on the Congo River, which is close to where the first bonobo species was found in the 1920s.
- In 1928, it was first recognized by German anatomist Ernst Schwarz, based on the skull found in the Tervuren Museum in Belgium which had been categorized as a juvenile chimp (Pan troglodytes).
- In 1933, American anatomist Harold Coolidge and American psychologist and primatologist Robert Yerkes changed the bonobo’s classification due to its behavioral differences compared to the chimps.
- Generally considered to be more slender than the common chimpanzee, adult female bonobos, which reach 66 lbs, are slightly smaller than their male counterparts, whose body mass ranges from 75 to 132 lbs.
- A bonobo’s head is smaller than that of the common chimpanzee, with less obvious brow ridges above the eyes. It sports a black face with pink lips, small ears, broad nostrils, and long hair that parts into two on its head.
- Females have relatively prominent breasts, compared to the flat chests of other female apes.
- A bonobo also has a gracile upper body, narrow shoulders, thin neck, and slender legs.
- It wanders on land and spends time in trees. Most of their ground movement is described by quadrupedal knuckle walking.
- Primatologist Frans de Waal suggests bonobos are able to acknowledge the happiness of humans and other beings, and show compassion, empathy, kindness, patience, and sensitivity.
- They are distinct for their unique social organization which, just like most lemur species, is hugely matriarchal. A coalition of high-ranking females dominate the top of the social pyramid, thus forming the core of the group. Despite this hierarchy, alpha males lead, protect, and command the group; hence, they need the loyalty of the other resident females to stay in that position. These males typically have a mutual and co-dominant relationship with the alpha females.
- Alpha males are the only ones who can eat with the high-ranking females while the rest of the males wait.
- Females often decide where the group travels. Aggressive encounters between the two sexes rarely happens and males are more tolerant of young and juvenile bonobos.
- A mother bonobo will also nurture her sons in conflicts with other males and support them to secure better bonds with other females, increasing her chance of gaining grandchildren from her sons.
- Due to the liberated mating behavior of females, a male bonobo cannot be sure which babies are his, causing mother bonobos to assume all the parental care.
- Male bonobos get their social status from their mother. This mother-son bond sometimes stays strong and lasts a lifetime. While social hierarchies are present, and despite the fact that a son of a high-ranking female may outrank a lower female, this ranking serves a less important role than in other primate groups.
- Females are used to lead hunts on duikers and defend their bounty from raiding males in the wild. They are more lenient of younger males pestering them yet show heightened aggression towards adult males.
HABITAT AND DIET
- Bonobos are generally omnivorous frugivores, wherein 57% of what they eat is fruit, with leaves, honey, eggs, meat from small vertebrates like anomalures, flying squirrels, and duikers making up the rest.
- They feed mainly in trees and wander on the ground to move to other trees.
- They are only seen south of the Congo River and north of the Kasai River, usually in the humid forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
HABITAT AND DIET
- Bonobos are classified as endangered species in the IUCN Red List, with populations reaching 29,500 to 50,000 individuals.
- Their numbers in the wild are shrinking because of major threats such as human destruction of forests and illegal hunting for bushmeat.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the bonobo across 19 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Bonobo worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the bonobo which (Pan paniscus) is among the endangered great apes that are found only south of the Congo River and north of the Kasai River. One of the closest living relatives of humans, bonobos are distinguished for their long legs, pink lips, and dark face.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Bonobo Facts
- Hello, Bonobo
- Things You Need To Know
- The More You Know
- A Bonobo’s Life
- Hominid Members
- Skeleton Comparison
- Close Relatives
- Chimp Cousins
- Relatable Bonobo Facts
- Ode To Bonobos
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Link will appear as Bonobo Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, December 4, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.