Female bonobo apes brag about their sexual conquests
Bonobo apes, sometimes referred to as the "make love not war" ape, are known for their high octane sex lives. Similar to humans (with whom they share 98% of their DNA) and different from other primates, "hooking up" is more than procreation; the species uses sex to show affection, relieve stress, thwart conflict, and simply for fun. Researchers have now observed that bonobo females also have sex for bragging rights.
Like a bunch of boys in a high school locker room, bonobo females broadcast their conquests to enhance their social status. When love locked with a high-ranking male, saucy lady apes shout out characteristic "copulation calls" so others will know exactly who is zooming whom. A new study reveals that females also cry out when having sex with other gals-but only alpha females. "These females are climbing social ladders," Zanna Clay, a postdoctoral researcher at Emory University who worked on the study, explained to LiveScience.
Eminent anthropologist Frans de Waal has dubbed bonbos "pan-sexual." They will fool around in basically any combination. They are also the only non-human species observed to tongue kiss, copulate face to face, and practice oral sex. "By engaging in these social-sexual interactions, they are showing off their social abilities," says Clay. In layperson's terms, that's sleeping one's way to the top.