WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Scientists have found that mother bonobos implement different strategies to help their sons mate successfully.
- These mothers even go as far as charging at other males while they are mating.
- Mother chimpanzees when compared to bonobos, have little impact on their sons’ reproductive success.
Scientists have found that bonobo mothers like to intervene when it comes to their sons’ sexual success.
Martin Surbeck, a primatologist working at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig stated: “We wanted to see if the mothers’ behavior changes the odds of their sons’ success, and it does. The mothers have a strong influence on the number of grandchildren they get.”
Females tend to be dominant in the higher ranks of bonobo society. Surbeck goes on to say, “The mothers tend to be a social passport for their sons.”
The primate moms are quite intent on their sons fathering children that they match them up with potential partners, watch for potential male competitors while their sons are at it, and even charge and pull off other males while they copulate.
“Once I saw a mother pulling a male away by the leg,” said Surbeck. The actions don’t necessarily mean that their sons have a higher chance of mating successfully, but it definitely shows how mother bonobos “ really get involved in the whole business.”
Surbeck and his colleagues’ studies included the observation of multiple bonobo populations located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They assessed the impact of mother bonobos’ actions and compared them with wild chimpanzees in Ivory Coast, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Although both species help their sons out in fights, only bonobos had a positive impact on their sons’ success in mating. As for the chimpanzees, who have a male-dominated society, the mothers barely had any impact on their sons’ chances of copulating.
Source: The Guardian