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Non-reciprocal but peaceful fruit sharing in wild bonobos in Wamba

In: Behaviour
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  • 1 aGraduate School of Intercultural Studies, Kobe University, 1-2-1 Tsurukabuto, Nada-ku, 657-8501 Kobe, Japan
  • | 2 bWildlife Research Center, Kyoto University, Yoshida-honmachi, Sakyo-ku, 606-8501 Kyoto, Japan
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Food sharing is considered to be a driving force in the evolution of cooperation in human societies. Previously postulated hypotheses for the mechanism and evolution of food sharing, e.g., reciprocity and sharing-under-pressure, were primarily proposed on the basis of meat sharing in chimpanzees. However, food sharing in bonobos has some remarkably different characteristics. Here I report details pertaining to fruit sharing in wild bonobos in Wamba based on 150 events of junglesop fruit sharing between independent individuals. The bonobos, primarily adult females, shared fruit that could be obtained individually without any cooperation or specialized skills. There was no evidence for reciprocal exchange, and their peaceful sharing seems to contradict the sharing-under-pressure explanation. Subordinate females begged for abundant fruit from dominants; this might indicate that they tested the dominants’ tolerance based on social bonds rather than simply begging for the food itself, suggesting existence of courtesy food sharing in bonobos.

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