The conversations of life

Just like humans? “Pushy” bonobo Mums help their sons to find sexual partners, says science


Talk about helicopter parenting.

The mothers of young male bonobos (a type of chimpanzee) are so keen for their offspring to father more children that they will push them in front of potential partners, shield them from other violent chimps, and even attack their son’s competitors.

And apparently, the hard work is paying off. Scientists have found that male bonobos who live with their mothers are three times more likely to have children than those that don’t (the opposite of humans, we’d say!)

Bonobos live in a female-dominated society, so “higher ranking” mothers can help get their sons more time with young females over other males.

And according to the researchers, things can get ugly – with one scientist saying he once saw a mother bonobo drag another male away from her son’s potential mate by the leg!

Sounds like there’s a few very embarrassed teenage boys in the bonobo community.

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.

Leave A Reply