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BonobosUnique in Mind, Brain, and Behavior$
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Brian Hare and Shinya Yamamoto

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198728511.001.0001

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Minding the bonobo mind

Minding the bonobo mind

(p.1) Chapter 1 Minding the bonobo mind

Brian Hare

Shinya Yamamoto

Oxford University Press

We illustrate the central role the bonobo plays in testing evolutionary hypotheses regarding ape minds (including our own). The importance of bonobos has become apparent only recently with sustained fieldwork at multiple sites in the Congo Basin as well as the first direct quantitative comparisons between bonobos, chimpanzees and humans. This recent work has revealed a number of traits in which bonobos and chimpanzees are more similar to humans than they are to each other. This means that bonobos are crucial to determining the evolutionary processes by which cognitive traits evolved in our own lineage. Based on the evidence within, it becomes clear that one can no longer know chimpanzees or humans without also knowing bonobos. We argue this makes investing in bonobo research and improved protection for bonobos in captivity and the wild an even higher priority. Nous illustrons le rôle central joué par le bonobo pour tester les hypothèses relatives à l’évolution de l’esprit des grands singes (y compris le nôtre). L’importance des bonobos n’est apparue que récemment grâce à un travail de terrain soutenu sur de multiples sites dans le bassin du Congo ainsi qu’aux premières comparaisons quantitatives directes entre les bonobos, les chimpanzés et les humains. Ces récents travaux ont révélé un certain nombre de caractéristiques pour lesquelles les bonobos et les chimpanzés présentent plus de similarités avec les humains que l’un envers l’autre. Cela signifie que les bonobos sont essentiels pour déterminer les processus d’évolution par lesquels les caractéristiques cognitives ont évolué dans notre propre lignée. Sur la base des preuves contenues dans ce document, il devient clair que l’on ne peut plus connaître les chimpanzés ou les humains sans connaître les bonobos. Cela rend donc d’autant plus primordiaux l’investissement dans la recherche sur les bonobos et l’amélioration de la protection des bonobos en captivité comme à l’état sauvage.

Keywords:   Bonobo, Pan paniscus, Cognition, hominid evolution, phylogenetic comparisons, Democratic Republic of Congo

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