Department of Primatology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
phone: +49 (341) 3550 - 200
fax: +49 (341) 3550 - 299
Life history patterns of bonobos and chimpanzees and their relation to modern humans
Hominoid primates and humans share a suit of life history traits such as slow maturation, a delay in reproductive activity, and long life expectancy. Maturation until adulthood may account for one third of total life span and there is often a considerable gap between the emergence of reproductive competence and the onset of reproduction. While many components of the life history of modern humans reflect cultural and economic achievements of postindustrial societies, basic trends of developmental changes display phylogenetic heritage. The project aims to collect information on the physiological; development of bonobos and chimpanzees, two hominoid species that are equally closely related to humans. In this context we will explore physiological markers that have not been the subject of primate studies but that are known to be indicative of critical stages in the life history of humans. In order to establish the bench mark for comparative analyses, the project compiles a data set from modern humans that allows direct comparisons with the data from hominoid primates. The proximate goal of the project is a cross-sectional study that uses samples from a relatively large number of bonobos, chimpanzees, and modern humans to identify temporal patterns of fluctuation of physiological markers. The ultimate goal is to initiate a long-term project to monitor ontogenetic changes in physiology, physical development and behavior of individual bonobos and chimpanzees from birth to adulthood.