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Order: Class: Mammalia
2.3 to 3 feet (70 to 90 centimeters) from head to rump
55 to 110 pounds (25 to 50 kilograms) in the wild; 66 to 135 pounds (30 to 61 kilograms) in zoos
Life span:
unknown in the wild; over 50 years in zoos
about 8 months
Number of young at birth:
usually 1, rarely 2
Size at birth:
2.8 pounds (1.3 kilograms)
Age of maturity:
8 to 9 years

The Bonobo (Pan paniscus), sometimes called the Pygmy Chimpanzee, is one of the two species comprising the genus Pan; both members of that genus are technically "chimpanzees", though the term is frequently used to refer only to the other member of the genus, Pan troglodytes, the Common Chimpanzee.

Bonobos diverged from Common Chimpanzees after the last Common Chimpanzee ancestor diverged from its last common ancestor with humans. Since no species other than ourselves have survived from the human line of that branching, Bonobos and Common Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, sharing approximately 98.4% of their DNA with us. They communicate through primarily vocal means, in a language that has not yet been deciphered; however, we do understand some of their natural hand gestures, such as their invitation to play. Bonobos are found only in the Congo River basin  of central Africa.


Bonobos are found only in the Congo River basin



Bonobos Versus Chimpanzees

Size— Chimps and bonobos are about the same size, but bonobos are more slender and have smaller heads and smaller ears.
Food— Chimpanzees eat plant material as well as monkeys and other mammals when they have the chance. Bonobos eat leaves, stems, fruits, worms,insects, and sometimes small fish.
Location— Bonobos are found only in a small part of one country in Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). The four subspecies
of “common” chimps range from western to central Africa.
Getting Along— When trouble comes between common chimps, they often fight it out. They are also very protective of their territory and will kill chimps from another group, called a troop, if they try to move in. Bonobos don’t seem to have established territories, and they tend to handle any squabbles or tension by using different sexual behaviors instead of aggression.
Looks— Bonobos can walk upright more easily than common chimps can. They also keep their white rump patch for life, while the patch darkens with age in chimps. And bonobos have hair on their head that parts right down the middle

To learn more about Bonobos, Chimpanzees, Orangutans and Gorillas visit and join the following organizations by clicking on their logo.

Gorilla photographs by Karl Ammann 






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