Do Bonobos Copulate More Frequently and Promiscuously than Chimpanzees?

Yukio TAKAHATA, Hiroshi IHOBE and Gen'ichi IDANI


The copulatory activities of bonobos (Pan paniscus) of Wamba, Zaire, were compared with those of chimpanzees (P. troglodytes schweinfurthii) of Mahale, Tanzania. The copulation rates of adult male bonobos were equal to or lower than those of adult male chimpanzees. The copulation rates of adult female bonobos were approximately equal to those of adult female chimpanzees who were in maximal genital swelling, but it should be much higher than those of the adult female chimpanzees throughout the birth interval. The copulation rates of adolescent male bonobos were lower than those of adolescent male chimpanzees, whereas the copulation rates of adolescent female bonobos were much higher than those of adolescent female chimpanzees. It was suggested that the bonobos of Wamba did not copulate more promiscuously than did the chimpanzees of Mahale. The female bonobos may show "receptivity", whereas female chimpanzees may show rather "proceptivity".

KEY WORDS: Pan paniscus; P. troglodytes schweinfurthii; copulation; promiscuity.

Human Evolution, 14: 159-1167 (1999)

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