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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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Bonobo baby dominance: Did female defense of offspring lead to reduced male aggression?

Bonobo baby dominance: Did female defense of offspring lead to reduced male aggression?

(p.49) Chapter 4 Bonobo baby dominance: Did female defense of offspring lead to reduced male aggression?

Kara Walker

Brian Hare

Oxford University Press

The dominance style of bonobos presents an evolutionary puzzle. Bonobos are not male dominant but female bonobos do not show traits typical of female-dominant species. This chapter proposes the offspring dominance hypothesis (ODH) as a potential solution. ODH suggests the social system of bonobos evolved as a defence against infanticide and is not due to pressure to monopolize resources. Females that prevented aggression towards offspring and preferred mating with less aggressive males were most successful. Supporting ODH, during observations at Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary it was found that: 1) adult male bonobos are rarely aggressive towards offspring with mothers, 2) some mother-reared juvenile bonobos attain rank higher than adult males and 3) mother-reared offspring often socially interact with adult males without their mothers nearby. These preliminary findings provide initial support that the bonobo social system evolved due to fitness advantages of effectively protecting offspring against consequences of male aggression. Le style de dominance des bonobos présente un puzzle évolutionnaire. Les bonobos ne sont pas dominés par les mâles mais les bonobos femelles ne montrent pas les traits caractéristiques d’une espèce dominée par femelles. On propose l’hypothèse de dominance de progéniture (ODH) comme une solution potentielle. La ODH suggère que le système social des bonobos a évolué en défense contre l’infanticide et pas sous pression pour la monopolisation des ressources. Les femelles qui préviennent l’agression vers leur progéniture et leur préférence d’accouplement avec des mâles moins agressives étaient très efficaces. À l’appui de la ODH on a trouvé pendant nos observations à Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary que: 1) les mâles adultes bonobos agressent rarement vers les bébés avec mères, 2) quelques adolescents bonobos qui furent élevés par leurs mères atteignent un rang plus haut que les mâles adultes et 3) la progéniture élevée par la mère interagissent avec avec d’adultes mâles sans la présence de leur mère. Ces trouvailles préliminaires donnent appuie à l’hypothèse que le système social des bonobos a évolué par les avantages corporelles de la protection de la progéniture contre les conséquences de l’agression mâle.

Keywords:   Bonobo, Dominance, Infanticide, female coalitions, tolerance, offspring dominance hypothesis

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