by Liza Moscovice
Humans are distinguished from other species by their high levels of sociality and cooperation with a diverse range of social partners, including relatives and also unrelated individuals. In non-human primates as well, individuals form selective social bonds that confer a range of fitness benefits. Most research on primate social bonds has focused on relationships among the philopatric sex, involving kin or same-sex peers who have grown up together. As a result, we currently know very little about the extent to which nonhuman primates have adaptations to maintain flexible social bonds outside of kinship, and we do not understand the function of differentiated social relationships for primates.
Bonobos deviate from predictions of socio-ecological models as females, the dispersing sex, engage in close bonds while the weakest associations occur between the philopatric males. This research project explores the causes and consequences of individual variation in affiliation and cooperation among unrelated female bonobos within and between communities.
This work is conducted in collaboration with Adrian Jaeggi, Dept. of Anthropology, Emory University