Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The King of Bongo Bong

I am quite surprised to realize that I knew next to nothing about bonobos until recently, while an absolute bonobo frenzy seems to have been going on for quite a while out there, stretching far beyond scientific curiosity. Here's the gist of the discussions on the topic: many (possibly counting a majority of feminists, pacifists, gay-rights activitists etc.) see the bonobo as the non-combative, sex loving, supreme social, ideal species, while others believe the 'let's have sex (and what sex!), not war' bonobo hippy myth emerged without much evidence in the first place and has been maintained and amplified artificially since. The very interesting part is that divergent opinions (and full-fledged animosities) seem to reign also among the few scientists who have been or are currently studying these beasts (all right, homo sapiens' cousins if you really want). And the truth is that they (we) still don't know much about the chimp's closest relative.

Anyway, the following two articles should enlighten you somewhat on the real king (queen?) of bongo bong (these two articles are by far the best I could find on the topic so far, with the second a reaction to the first). Caveat lector: stop reading right now if you believe yourself to be a puritan and want to stay a puritan... Same thing if you don't believe in evolution :-).

Bonobos (take your time, this is 12 full pages long, worth reading for the impressions and reported facts of the reporter, not necessarily for his conclusions).
More bonobos (shorter piece; Frans de Waal concise and sounding convincing, as de Waal usually sounds)

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