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Old September 13th, 2016, 02:28 PM   #1

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Why don't larger, stronger male bonobos dominate their groups?


Unlike chimpanzees, bonobos are female dominated. But why don't the males do something about this?

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Why did female bonobos defy the norm and start cooperating with one another? And why donít male bonobos forge alliances with other nearby males who are likely their brothers and cousins?
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/sc...e=sectionfront

Furthermore, what are the advantages and disadvantages of a matriarch ruled society?
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Old September 13th, 2016, 04:50 PM   #2

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As to the first question, I think the article itself provides at least some of the answer; female bonobos have rich sources of foraging material therefore they are not in competition with one another and this encourages constructive mutually-supportive relations which have deepened over time and its this communicative bond which enables them to reinforce their 'dominance' over their male counterparts as in the initial example of the female in oestrus being protected from the excited males. Is it merely down to the quirks of habitat though(unlikely) and don't the male bonobos also have bonding mechanisms which, as in most other primate communities, ensure a more patriarchally-oriented social life? To be sure, a very curious "exception to the rule" these bonobos.

As to the second question; would males then begin to mimic quintessentially 'female' behaviours in order to advance up the pecking order - a kind of bizarre alternate reality with less 'football' and more 'soaps' (if you'll excuse the stereotyping)? It seems there's still a lot of research to be carried out before making a determination one way or the other but it is interesting that the females (it seems) reinforce their dominance by traditionally 'male' means; the use of violence.

So, while the normative gender roles have been upturned to some extent and while there is some notable 'code-scrambling' occurring the upshot it appears is that this 'matriarchy' is still being reinforced by the traditionally male modus operandi - the resort to displays of power. Which leaves me with the question whether this 'power' is undergirded by a perhaps more evolutionary advanced communicative system among females triggered by their foraging conditions? An actual genetic mutation which has enhanced their 'linguistic' capacities bequeathing them an "edge" on their male counterparts?
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Old December 17th, 2016, 08:02 AM   #3

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all species evolve differently.
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Old December 20th, 2016, 08:48 AM   #4
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Bonobos are the most sexually active of all the apes.

The males traded their dominance in exchange for far more frequent sex.

Just like modern man.

Bonobos are the origin of the phrase " yes, dear"
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Old December 28th, 2016, 06:25 AM   #5

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are female bonobos engaging in sex even though they might not be interested? human females will engage in sex some times because they are emotionally attached to the male even when they really aren't interested. among most mammals the female must go into heat to be receptive. once covered they become indifferent again.
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Old December 28th, 2016, 03:18 PM   #6
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are female bonobos engaging in sex even though they might not be interested? human females will engage in sex some times because they are emotionally attached to the male even when they really aren't interested. among most mammals the female must go into heat to be receptive. once covered they become indifferent again.
Yes. Female Bonobos engage in sex just to elicit cooperation and food from males.

Bonobos also appear to engage in sex as comfort- both hetero and homosexually.
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Old December 28th, 2016, 03:29 PM   #7

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Originally Posted by Jake10 View Post
Unlike chimpanzees, bonobos are female dominated. But why don't the males do something about this?
Female dominated groups might be in a situation that requires more cooperative enterprise, as the dominant female and her daughters/sisters/aunts would be accompanied by young males.

For a male dominated group (like sealions for example) there is one alpha male by himself, along with his harem and their young.
It works for large sealions, as they don't really need protection except from others of their same species.
However if you've chased off all the other males, they're not around to help defend the group or with various other tasks.

It also removes damage/conflict from the group itself, as the male vs male dominance can involve only the two combatants, rather than affect the entire group, as it does with lions for example
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Old January 4th, 2017, 07:19 AM   #8

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Originally Posted by Lord Fairfax View Post

It also removes damage/conflict from the group itself, as the male vs male dominance can involve only the two combatants, rather than affect the entire group, as it does with lions for example
Mind you, female vs female fights can also occur and can escalate to gang fights with other females choosing sides. At least this is what occurs with hyenas.
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Old February 5th, 2017, 08:31 PM   #9

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what works for one species cannot work for another. bonobos have evolved their own niche. To say "why don't they do anything about it?" is pretty shallow, since it's projecting human like behaviour onto non-humans.
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