Department of Primatology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
phone: +49 (341) 3550 - 200
fax: +49 (341) 3550 - 299
Positional Behavior in Pan paniscus
by Gilbert Ramos (Indiana University, Bloomington, Dept. Anthropology)
Detailed descriptions of fossil hominids encourages study of extant primates as potential models for understanding pre-hominid positional behaviours that may anticipate later hominid postural and locomotor adaptations. Historically, various hypotheses have been advanced to explain the unique body plan of the bonobo. Compared to chimpanzees, bonobos are more specialized for greater arboreal agility, quadrupedal terrestrial locomotion, and more frequent bipedalism. In addition bonobos are an allometrically scaled down version of the chimpanzee and their positional behaviour is expected to resemble that of immature chimpanzees. Positional adaptations among bonobos are poorly understood in part because studies to date have been limited to arboreal behaviour, and were conducted on incompletely habituated bonobos. Using a new data set from fully habituated bonobos at LuiKotale, this study explores a number of existing hypotheses concerning the positional behaviour and substrate use. The data collected in this project represent promising insights for our understanding of bonobo positional behaviour, its anatomical correlates, influences of forest topography and the changing seasons. Furthermore, this data will permit comparisons with other long-term ape positional behaviour studies on other hominoids.