Monday, 25 February 2013


Pan was a very playful deity. Its current name, BONOBO, presumably originates from the distortion of the name of a village situated on the Congo River. "Bolobo", where the first bonobo specimens came from. It has been established through molecular genetics analyses that the Bonobo genus, Pan, is the most closely related to humans; Bonobos share approximately 98.4 % of our genetic identity. The morphological growth of Bonobos is similar to that of humans. For instance, young bonobos lose their milk teethes between 5 and 7 years, puberty is between 9 and 11 years and females have an ovarian cycle very similar to that of women.

What does it look like?

Bonobos seem in many ways to be more similar to humans than chimpanzees. In the proportions of the limbs, in the narrower trunk and in the smaller canine teeth the bonobo more closely resembles humans. When observed in captivity they also walk bipedally more often. These and other similarities are surprising given that bonobos are no more closely related to us than chimpanzees. They are covered with black hair instead of brown like the chimp.

There are two possible reasons for the similarities between humans and bonobos.

1. The bonobo is more similar to the common ancestor of humans, bonobos and chimpanzees. The bonobo has retained ancestral characteristics, some of which are shared by humans. The chimpanzee in the past 2.5 million years has evolved more distinct features.

2. It is the chimpanzee that is more similar to the common ancestor of humans, bonobos and chimpanzees. Convergent evolution caused similar features to develop in humans and bonobos because they were acting in a similar manner, most likely in terms of methods of obtaining food. The chimpanzee retained the ancestral form.