Something different on a Friday – Bonobo apes

By March 5, 2010Other

This is an unusual post for me, but I hope you enjoy this Ted video where Susan Savage-Rumbaugh introduces the Bonobo ape.  As a kid I used to read a lot of science fiction and one passage that has always stayed with me described a future earth where humans wandering through the forest saw chimps and monkeys making fires and using stone tools.  Incredibly we see a lot of that and more from the Bonobo in this video.


  • from about 5.45 using a lighter to make fire
  • from 9.30 knocking two stones together to make a ‘knife’
  • from 11.20 using chalk to write a symbol to say where she wants to go
  • from 14.05 playing musical instruments

Quite amazing.

Thanks to Jof Arnold who pointed me towards this video at the end of a very stimulating lunch discussion yesterday.

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  • Nick, thanks for publishing this link – very interesting how bonobos have remained beneath the radar for so long.

    There was a very readable book published a few years ago called “Demonic Males – Apes and the Origins of Human Violence” (lousy title but a great read) – the section on bonobos and how they mitigate conflicts (and interact between tribes) is fascinating. Worth picking up if you can find it.

  • Thanks. Anthropology is a fascinating subject – one it would be great to practice.