Friday, 21 September 2007

Thursday TED: VI Bonobos

Ok, so it's Friday, and I'm a day late. This week's TED is a good one, and a fun one.

It is often said that the chimpanzee is our closest animal relative. This is partly true - the Bonobo chimp is actually much closer to us than the common chimp. This video takes a look at what Bonobos are capable of learning (on their own - not through training). It's pretty impressive stuff, raises some important questions about the source of intelligence, and will make you smile many a time (if you can get over the cheesy narration.)

Here is more info for anyone curious to know more about Bonobo's scientifically fascinating sexual behaviour. For the repressed moralists who commonly say, "Behaviour X is just not natural!" -- I assure you, the Bonobos engage in behaviour X, and they are in fact a natural species. The list of common Bonobo sexual practices is... creative... to say the least. I must admit, this is the first time I've come across the phrase "penis fencing" as common parlance in a scientific sub-discipline.

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