Biological Sciences Department

Degree Name

BS in Biological Sciences




Francis X. Villablanca


Bonobos (Pan paniscus) tend to have low frequencies of aggression due to a suite of affiliative behaviors that are thought to relieve group tensions. A few of these possible behaviors are grooming, sociosexual activities, and strategic positioning in regards to proximity with other individuals at food sites, where most aggression occurs. This observational study sought to determine whether captive bonobos exhibit certain social behaviors at different rates, and have differing proximity preferences in regards to other individuals, when food was and was not available. Results show that when food was available, the apes were less affiliative with fewer counts of grooming, but with higher rates of sexual activity. In addition, animals were found to be in proximity with at least one group member less often when food was available. There were very few recorded aggression events throughout the study, and no significant difference in rates of aggression when food is and is not available.