Sex and strife: post-conflict sexual contacts in bonobos

in Behaviour
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Sexual contacts are thought to play an important role in regulating social tension in bonobos (Pan paniscus), and are especially common following aggressive conflicts, either between former opponents or involving bystanders. Nevertheless, research on the factors determining post-conflict sexual contacts, their effectiveness in reducing social tension and the nature of post-conflict sexual behaviour is scarce. Here, we collected data on post-conflict affiliative contacts in bonobos occurring between former opponents (reconciliation) and offered by bystanders towards victims (consolation) to investigate the role of sexual contacts in the regulation of aggressive conflicts compared to non-sexual affiliation behaviours. We tested whether post-conflict sexual contacts: (1) alleviate stress, (2) confer reproductive benefits, (3) mediate food-related conflict and (4) repair valuable social bonds. Thirty-six semi-free bonobos of all ages were observed at the Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary, DR Congo, using standardized Post-Conflict/Matched Control methods. Consolation and reconciliation were both marked by significant increases in the occurrence of sexual behaviours. Reconciliation was almost exclusively characterized by sexual contacts, although consolation was also characterized by increases in non-sexual behaviours, such as embrace. Adults were more likely to engage in post-conflict sexual contacts than younger bonobos. Consistent with the stress-alleviation hypothesis, victims receiving sexual consolatory contact showed significantly lower rates of self-scratching, a marker of stress in primates, compared to receiving non-sexual contact. Post-conflict sexual contacts were not targeted towards valuable social partners and they did not confer obvious reproductive benefits; nor were they used to mediate food-related conflicts. Overall, results highlight the role of sex in regulating tension and social conflicts in bonobos.

Sex and strife: post-conflict sexual contacts in bonobos

in Behaviour

Sections

References

ArnoldK.WhitenA. (2001). Post-conflict behaviour of wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in the Budongo Forest, Uganda. — Behaviour 138: 649-690.

BlountB.G. (1990). Issues in bonobo (Pan paniscus) sexual behavior. — Am. Anthropol. 92: 702-714.

ByrneR.LeeP.C.NjirainiN.PooleJ.H.SayialelK. (2008). Do elephants show empathy?J. Conscious. Stud. 15: 10-11.

CallJ.AureliF.de WaalF.B.M. (1999). Reconciliation patterns among stumptailed macaques: a multivariate approach. — Anim. Behav. 58: 165-172.

CallJ.AureliF.de WaalF.B.M. (2002). Postconflict third-party affiliation in stumptailed macaques. — Anim. Behav. 63: 209-216.

ClayZ.de WaalF.B.M. (2013a). Bonobos respond to distress in others: consolation across the age spectrum. — PLoS One 8: e55206.

ClayZ.de WaalF.B.M. (2013b). Development of socio-emotional competence in bonobos. — Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110: 18121-18126.

ClayZ.PikaS.GruberT.ZuberbühlerK. (2011). Female bonobos use copulation calls as social signals. — Biol. Lett. 5: 513-516.

CoolsA.K.A.van HoutA.J.M.NelissenM.H.J. (2008). Canine reconciliation and third party initiated postconflict affiliation: do peacemaking social mechanisms in dogs rival those of higher primates?Ethology 114: 53-63.

CordoniG.PalagiE.TarliS.B. (2006). Reconciliation and consolation in captive western gorillas. — Int. J. Primatol. 27: 1365-1382.

DahlJ.F. (1986). Cyclic perineal swelling during the intermenstrual intervals of captive female pygmy chimpanzees (Pan paniscus). — J. Hum. Evol. 15: 369-385.

de WaalF.B.M. (1987). Tension regulation and non-reproductive functions of sex in captive bonobos. — Nat. Geo. Res. 3: 318-335.

de WaalF.B.M. (1989). Peacemaking among primates. — Harvard University PressCambridge, MA.

de WaalF.B.M. (1992). Appeasement, celebration, and food sharing in the two Pan species. — In: Topics in primatologyVol. 1 Human origins ( NishidaT.McGrewW.C.MarlerP.PickfordM.de WaalF.B.M. eds). University of Tokyo PressTokyo p.  37-50.

de WaalF.B.M. (1995). Sex as an alternative to aggression in the bonobo. — In: Sexual nature sexual culture ( AbramsonP.R.PinkertonS.D. eds). University Press of ChicagoChicago, IL.

de WaalF.B.M.AureliF. (1996). Consolation, reconciliation, and a possible cognitive difference between macaques and chimpanzees. — In: Reaching into thought: the minds of the great apes. Cambridge University PressNew York, NY p.  80-110.

de WaalF.B.M.van RoosmalenA. (1979). Reconciliation and consolation among chimpanzees. — Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 5: 55-66.

de WaalF.B.M.YoshiharaD. (1983). Reconciliation and redirected affection in rhesus-monkeys. — Behaviour 85: 224-241.

DixsonA.F. (1977). Observations on the displays, menstrual cycles and sexual behavior of the “Black ape” of Celebes (Macaca nigra). — J. Zool. 182: 63-84.

FlackJ.C.de WaalF.B.M. (2007). Context modulates signal meaning in primate communication. — Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104: 1581-1586.

FraserO.N.AureliF. (2008). Reconciliation, consolation and postconflict behavioral specificity in chimpanzees. — Am. J. Primatol. 70: 1114-1123.

FraserO.N.BugnyarT. (2010). Do ravens show consolation? Responses to distressed others. — PloS One 5: 10605.

FraserO.N.StahlD.AureliF. (2008). Stress reduction through consolation in chimpanzees. — Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105: 8557-8562.

FraserO.N.KoskiS.E.WittigR.W.AureliF. (2009). Why are bystanders friendly to recipients of aggression?Commun. Integr. Biol. 2: 285-291.

FruthB.HohmannG. (2006). Social grease for females? Same-sex genital contacts in wild bonobos. — In: Homosexual behaviour in animals: an evolutionary perspective ( SommerV.VaseyP. eds). Cambridge University PressCambridge p.  294-315.

FuruichiT. (1989). Social interactions and the life history of female Pan paniscus in Wamba, Zaire. — Int. J. Primatol. 10: 173-197.

GoodallJ.BanduraA.BergmannE.BusseC.MatamH.MpongoE.PierceA.RissD. (1979). Inter-community interactions in the chimpanzee populations of the Gombe National Park. — In: The great apes ( HamburgD.McCownE. eds). Benjamin/CummingsMenlo Park, CA p.  13-53.

HanbyJ.P. (1977). Social factors affecting primate reproduction. — In: Handbook of sexology ( MoneyJ.MustaphH. eds). Excerpta MedicaAmsterdam p.  461-484.

HashimotoC. (1997). Context and development of sexual behaviour of wild bonobos (Pan paniscus) at Wamba, Zaire. — Int. J. Primatol. 18: 1-21.

HerbingerI.PapwothS.BoeschC.ZuberbuhlerK. (2009). Vocal, gestural and locomotor responses of wild chimpanzees to familiar and unfamiliar intruders: a playback study. — Anim. Behav. 78: 1389-1396.

HohmannG.FruthB. (2000). Use and function of genital contacts among female bonobos. — Anim. Behav. 60: 107-120.

HohmannG.MundryR.DeschnerT. (2009). The relationship between socio-sexual behavior and salivary cortisol in bonobos: tests of the tension regulation hypothesis. — Am. J. Primatol. 71: 223-232.

KanoT. (1989). The sexual behavior of pygmy chimpanzees. — In: Understanding chimpanzees ( HeltneG.MarquardtL.A. eds). Harvard University PressCambridge, MA p.  176-183.

KanoT. (1992). The last ape: pygmy chimpanzee behavior and ecology. — Stanford University PressStanford, CA.

KoskiS.E.SterckE.H.M. (2007). Triadic postconflict affiliation in captive chimpanzees: does consolation console?Anim. Behav. 73: 133-142.

KurodaS.J. (1980). Social behavior of the pygmy chimpanzees. — Primates 21: 181-197.

KurodaS.J. (1984). Interaction over food among pygmy chimpanzees. — In: The pygmy chimpanzee: evolutionary biology and behavior ( SusmanR.L. ed.). Plenum PressNew York, NY p.  301-324.

MaestripieriD.SchinoG.AureliF.TroisiA. (1992). A modest proposal — displacement activities as an indicator of emotions in primates. — Anim. Behav. 44: 967-979.

MansonJ.H.PerryS.ParishA.R. (1997). Nonconceptive sexual behavior in bonobos and capuchins. — Int. J. Primatol. 18: 767-786.

MoriA. (1983). Comparison of the communicative vocalizations and behaviors of group ranging in eastern gorillas, chimpanzees and pygmy chimpanzees. — Primates 24: 486-500.

OiT. (1991). Non-copulatory mounting of wild pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina nemestrina) in West Sumatra, Indonesia. — In: Primatology today ( EharaA.KimuraT.TakenakaO.IwamotoM. eds). Elsevier ScienceAmsterdam p.  147-150.

PalagiE.CordoniG. (2009). Postconflict third-party affiliation in Canis lupus: do wolves share similarities with the great apes?Anim. Behav. 78: 979-986.

PalagiE.PaoliT.Borgognini TarliS. (2004). Reconciliation and consolation in captive bonobos (Pan paniscus). — Am. J. Primatol. 62: 15-30.

PalagiE.PaoliT.Borgognini TarliS. (2006). Short-term benefits of play behavior and conflict prevention in Pan paniscus. — Int. J. Primatol. 27: 1257-1270.

PaoliT.PalagiE.TacconiG.TarliS.B. (2006). Perineal swelling, intermenstrual cycle, and female sexual behavior in bonobos (Pan paniscus). — Am. J. Primatol. 68: 333-347.

ParishA.R. (1994). Sex and food control in the uncommon chimpanzee — how bonobo females overcome a phylogenetic legacy of male-dominance. — Ethol. Sociobiol. 15: 157-179.

PrestonS.D.de WaalF.B.M. (2002). Empathy: its ultimate and proximate bases. — Behav. Brain. Sci. 25: 1-71.

RomeroT.CastellanosM.A.de WaalF.B.M. (2010). Consolation as possible expression of sympathetic concern among chimpanzees. — Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 12110-12115.

RomeroT.CastellanosM.A.de WaalF.B.M. (2011). Post-conflict affiliation by chimpanzees with aggressors: other-oriented versus selfish political strategy. — PloS One 6: 22173.

RosatiA.G.HareB. (2012). Chimpanzees and bonobos exhibit divergent spatial memory. — Dev Sci. 15: 840-853.

SapolskyR.M. (2004). Social status and health in humans and other animals. — Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 33: 393-418.

SchinoG.PerrettaG.TaglioniA.MonacoV.TroisiA. (1996). Primate displacement activities as an ethopharmacological model of anxiety. — Anxiety 2: 186-191.

TabachnickB.G.FidellL.S. (2001). Using multivariate analysis. — California State University Northridge, Harper Collins College PublishersNorthridge, CA.

Thompson-HandlerN.T.MalenkyR.K.BadrianN. (1984). Sexual behavior of Pan paniscus. — In: The pygmy chimpanzee: evolutionary biology and behavior ( SusmanR.L. ed.). Plenum PressNew York, NY p.  347-368.

WhiteF.J. (1996). Comparative socio-ecology of Pan paniscus. — In: Great ape societies ( McGrewW.C.MarchandtL.F.NishidaT. eds). Cambridge University PressCambridge p.  29-41.

WobberV.WranghamR.HareB. (2010). Bonobos exhibit delayed development of social behavior and cognition relative to chimpanzees. — Curr. Biol. 20: 226-230.

Figures

  • View in gallery

    Socio-sexual behaviour in bonobos. (A) Female–female genito-genital contact; (B) a female bystander offering a genital touch towards a distressed victim following a conflict. Photographer: Zanna Clay at Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary.

  • View in gallery

    Percentage of post-conflict contact affiliations that contained elements of one of nine behavioral categories during (A) consolation or (B) reconciliation as compared to control periods. The bar chart represents means ± SEM that were based on mean % per bystander (consolation) or per victim (reconciliation).

  • View in gallery

    Mean ± SEM rate of victim self-scratching during post-conflict periods in which the victim received sexual or non-sexual consolatory contact.

  • View in gallery

    Percentage of (A) consolatory sexual contacts initiated by bystanders to victims and (B) reconciliatory sexual contacts occurring between former opponents. The bar chart represents mean ± SEM percentages, based on mean % of total sexual contacts offered per bystander (A) or per victim (B) (N=23 for consolation, N=14 for reconciliation).

  • View in gallery

    Percentage of sexual contacts initiated by sexually-mature males (N=5 females, N=7 males) and female bystander towards victims of aggression. Means ± SEM were based on mean % of sexual contacts offered per bystander per sex category (Male, Female).

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 60 60 34
Full Text Views 12 12 12
PDF Downloads 2 2 2
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0