Monday, January 26, 2009

Bonobos in Paradise*

Uh oh. Now men finally know the secret, that during sex, women are thinking not about them, not about George Clooney, not about Carla Bruni, but about our evolutionary predecessors. (Or whatever monkeys are. If bonobos are even monkeys. Forgive me, I'm in the humanities.)

I realize that's not at all what the most-discussed article of the moment is about. As it happens, I have nothing worthwhile to say about the article, other than that this post title needed a post to go with it.

*Apologies to David Brooks, and Jo, whose phrasing it is, although he came up with it in a different context entirely.


Nick said...


bonobos are not monkeys. they're apes, equally closely related to humans as chimpanzees.

and they're utterly amazing and fascinating creatures.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

I knew you knew about this, and was hoping you'd comment. I mean, how am I supposed to fantasize about these animals if I don't even know what they are?

Anonymous said...

Jared Diamond's book on human evolution is called The Third Chimpanzee, with common chimps as the first, bonobos as the second, and humans as the third.

Quite perfectly for this post, (and not entirely coincidentally), Diamond took a chapter out of The Third Chimapnzee and expanded it into an entire book entitled Why is Sex Fun?

(I'd highly recommend Diamond's books to interested readers with zero science background. They're very good and very accessible.)

David Schraub said...

Second the nomination of Diamond's books. Also, bonobo sexual practices are like the worst conservative nightmare of the 1970s, gone species-wide.

Anonymous said...

"Also, bonobo sexual practices are like the worst conservative nightmare of the 1970s, gone species-wide."

Ain't it the truth. Bonobos really do live in paradise. They enjoy a permanent Summer of Love.