Among the primatologists, the bonobos were reputed to be hedonists because of their intense sexual practices. Now, on behalf of the ethologist Elisa Demuru, of the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa in Italy, and his colleagues, this species of ape that inhabits Central Africa seems to share a characteristic that was attributed only to humans: attended births .
Demuru and his group filmed some incidents in 2009, 2012 and 2014 in two European primate parks where bonobos roam freely through wooded areas where it is seen as bonobo females provide help to the pregnant female during labor and protect the newborn baby.
“These observations, along with a 2014 report from wild bonobos that behave in a similar manner, challenge an influential idea that human females, unlike other primates, receive assistance in childbirth,” Science News reported.
In the article in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, where they reported their results, the primatologists concluded that “as in human beings, the birth in bonobos was a social event, in which the assistants provided protection and support to the parturient until the baby was born. In addition, the transient women helped the parturient during the expulsive phase by making manual gestures aimed at supporting the baby. Our results on the bonobos question the traditional view that the mandatory need for assistance was the main driving force of sociality around birth in our species. ”
For scientists, the high levels of sociability that characterize the groups of bonobos would explain this solidary behavior. This is a surprising finding because in chimpanzees, close cousins of bonobos, this behavior has never been observed.