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Bonobos micro-lesson

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Bonobos, just like their cousins the chimpanzees, are another member of the great apes. They were once thought to be the same as the common chimpanzee, however, we now know they are a different species. Bonobos differ from chimpanzees in that they have a much more slender build, spend more time walking on two legs, and have hair that parts down the middle. Bonobos are found only in one country on earth, the Democratic Republic of Congo. They prefer to live in dense forests but are also found near swamps and secondary forests. Just like chimpanzees, bonobos are omnivorous which means they eat plants and meat. Though they mainly eat fruit, nuts, and leaves, bonobos will also hunt and eat duiker, small flying squirrels, and other small mammals. Bonobos are far less aggressive than chimpanzees and will even share their food with bonobos that they do not know. Unlike chimpanzees, bonobos are led by older females, and they will decide when and where to feed and to sleep. When they are relaxed, bonobos love to play. Adults and young will chase each other around and even play hide and seek. It is not unusual to see a bonobo laughing when it's being tickled by one of its friends. Bonobos and chimpanzees are very similar in that they live in what is called a fission-fusion society. This means that smaller groups of bonobos split off from the larger group to go and forage for food or to play. However, the smaller groups will return to the large group when it is time to sleep. It is not only primates that live in fission-fusion societies. Other examples are elephants, dolphins, and hyenas.

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  • Are bonobos the same species as chimps?

    1) No
    2) Yes
  • Bonobos and chimpanzees are very closely related. Do you think bonobos can swim?

    1) No
    2) Yes
  • Chimpanzees and bonobos are separated by the large Congo River. Why is it unlikely that they will ever mix in the wild?

    1) Because they are unable to swim across
    2) Because they do not ant to meet each other
    3) Because they can't build boats
    4) Because the river is full of crocodiles
  • Chimpanzees often fight with rival groups. What might be the drawback to this compared to bonobos being more placid?

    1) Fighting often means a chimpanzee will get injured
    2) Chimpanzees will become more aggressive
    3) Chimpanzees make less friends
    4) They will also start attacking people
  • Even though they dont like deep water, bonobos are often found near streams and river. Why?

    1) So they can drink the water and this is where a lot of food is found
    2) They like to see their reflection in the water
    3) So they can jump in the water to escape predators
    4) It cools them down when it is too hot
  • Name a way in which bonobos are different from chimpanzees?

    1) They are less aggressive
    2) They enjoy playing
    3) They are much bigger
    4) They are stronger
  • What benefit might there be to bonobos having a slender build?

    1) Makes them more agile
    2) Makes them harder to see
    3) Makes them seem less scary
    4) Makes them look tough and fit
  • What might be a benefit of living in a fission-fusion society?

    1) Easier to find enough food in small groups
    2) Less fighting in the group
    3) Easier to spend more time with friends
    4) Makes hunting more difficult
  • What type of diet do bonobos have?

    1) They eat plants and meat (omnivores)
    2) They eat plants only (herbivores)
    3) They eat meat only (carnivores)
    4) They only eat fish
  • What type of important nutrient do nuts and meat both contain?

    1) Protein (and fats)
    2) Carbohydrates
    3) Sugars
    4) Juice
  • Where are bonobos found?

    1) The Democratic Republic of Congo
    2) Uganda
    3) Rwanda
    4) Kenya
  • Where do you think bonobos sleep?

    1) In nests in the trees
    2) In holes underground
    3) In very long grass
    4) On top of buildings
  • Who leads the group in bonobo society?

    1) Older females
    2) Older males
    3) Younger females
    4) Younger males
  • Why do you think bonobos prefer to be less agressive to other bonobos?

    1) They don't want to risk being injured in a fight
    2) They know they are stronger so are less mean
    3) So they can share the same nesting spot
    4) So they can make more friends
  • Why might a bonobo share its food?

    1) So another bonobo might share their food with him or her
    2) Because they are very generous
    3) Because they are scared of each other
    4) So they can steal that territory

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Brett Evans

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