Bonobos found to be smarter than chimps

Share this article

BELGIAN scientists were surprised by the results of an intelligence test which pitted bonobos against chimpanzees as part of a campaign to help publicise the African trade in bonobos as bushmeat.

The bonobos, chimp-like apes who live in matriarchal family groups and frequently use sex to resolve social conflicts, defied expectations by beating the group of chimpanzees in intelligence tests - because the chimps were too busy fighting among themselves for dominance.

Biologist Jeroen Stevens said: "Chimpanzees in the wild use sticks to fish for termites, and bonobos in the wild don't do that … so we thought that the chimpanzees would be at an advantage."

The brain test was part of a campaign by the Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp to raise money to tackle the problem of bonobos being captured, killed and sold as bushmeat.

Bushmeat, which also includes meat from gorillas, chimpanzees and other animals, is considered a delicacy in parts of Africa.