Everybody is familiar with the chimpanzees, but how many know that there are two species: the common chimpanzee and the bonobo or pygmy chimpanzee? The term "pygmy" for bonobo is a misnomer, as bonobo has the same size as a common chimp. They are quite similar (only that a bonobo is somehow slender), live in groups of the same size and eat the same food. But it all stops here.
If we take a further look at them, then the common chimps should be called the aggressive/brute/violent chimps. Violence is a normal component of their daily life. Fights between common communities are normal and the physical abuses exerted by the males on females are the norm. Common chimps have a patriarchal society, in which the males rule.
For the teen males, one of the rites for being admitted in the group of mature males is proving their dominance over the females. Often, the females of the group are violently beaten by the young
males. Offspring too are targeted.
Infanticide, offspring killing by the males, is the cause of the common chimp's sexual behavior. Mating with all the males of the group, the females diminish the chance of their baby to be killed, as this way the males cannot be sure about which the father is, so they will protect (or at least not attack it). And even if common chimps may mate several times per day, the act lasts only for a few seconds.
Common chimps are known to be also more sanguinary and to organize hunt during which they even kill small monkeys, young baboons, small antelopes and piglets.
Meanwhile, a bonobo could be named the hippie chimp. The motto seems to be "make love, not war". Scientists were shocked when they saw that a bonobo mates like a human does, face to face, something unusual for the animals. But after that, they found that this ape actually mates from each possible position and posture. Their community model is based on female solidarity and good relationships between the two sexes. Sex is the base of their social relationships and the weakest conflict is solved through sex.
From time to time, there are real orgies in the bonobo groups, with individuals of any sex and age (offspring included!) being involved, with both heterosexual and homosexual sex. Bonobos frequently masturbate and females do it, too, which is very unusual.
The only taboo is sex between mother and son and almost all bonobos are bisexual. They copulate frenetically and often express sexual pleasure by screaming, especially females, in 66 % of the cases, engaging in homosexual activities.
Females form alliances and this way they detain a dominant position inside the group (but a peaceful one).
Bonobo and common chimps split from each other less than one million years ago and researchers have put this on evolution in different environments, with different food sources.
A bonobo lives in regions where grass, its base food, is found during the entire year and in their habitat at south of Congo River there are no gorillas. Common chimps share their habitat with gorillas and their diet is also based on grass and is more powerful; thus, to avoid competition, they had to search for food in the trees.
Common chimp females had to feed themselves and their offspring, not an easy task when males, free of offspring care duty, are free to climb the trees and to feast first with the available fruits. That's why the females had the greatest chances of finding food when they split off the males and the other females, foraging on their own. This way, the females could not form alliances.