Complex patterns of signalling to convey different social goals of sex in bonobos, Pan paniscus
MetadataShow full item record
Altmetrics Handle Statistics
Altmetrics DOI Statistics
Sexual behaviour in bonobos (Pan paniscus) functions beyond mere reproduction to mediate social interactions and relationships. In this study, we assessed the signalling behaviour in relation to four social goals of sex in this species: appeasement after conflict, tension reduction, social bonding and reproduction. Overall, sexual behaviour was strongly decoupled from its ancestral reproductive function with habitual use in the social domain, which was accompanied by a corresponding complexity in communication behaviour. We found that signalling behaviour varied systematically depending on the initiator's goals and gender. Although all gestures and vocalisations were part of the species-typical communication repertoire, they were often combined and produced flexibly. Generally, gestures and multi-modal combinations were more flexibly used to communicate a goal than vocalisations. There was no clear relation between signalling behaviour and success of sexual initiations, suggesting that communication was primarily used to indicate the signaller's intention, and not to influence a recipient's willingness to interact sexually. We discuss these findings in light of the larger question of what may have caused, in humans, the evolutionary transition from primate-like communication to language.
Genty , E , Neumann , C & Zuberbuehler , K 2015 , ' Complex patterns of signalling to convey different social goals of sex in bonobos, Pan paniscus ' , Scientific Reports , vol. 5 , 16135 , pp. 1-13 . https://doi.org/10.1038/srep16135
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material.
DescriptionThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 283871.
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.