Department of Primatology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
phone: +49 (341) 3550 - 200
fax: +49 (341) 3550 - 299
The majority of information from wild bonobos is obtained by systematic behavioral observations of focal individuals. In many cases, observations are combined with physiological and molecular data to explore causes and consequences of social behavior. Using material such as urine, feces, and hair that can be collected non-invasively from wild apes, we are able to measure hormones, stable isotopes and other physiological markers. The work on wild bonobos at LuiKotale is complemented by studies on captive bonobos. This approach takes advantage of having control of social and environmental parameters and permits validation of physiological markers and assessment of topics such as digestive kinetics, digestive efficiency, and hormonal responses to social and environmental stimuli.