Research Projects

Game in the social structure of the bonobos

Wp-Isabel-Behncke-588

THE PEACEFUL EVOLUTION OF OUR COUSINS

The primatologist Isabel Behncke spent almost a year in the Congo jungle to unravel how the great apes develop our social relationships and how the environment determines them. This study of the social life of the bonobos, with particular emphasis on the complexity of the game network in the face of changes in environmental resources, throws light on how one of the most peaceful societies in the natural world was constituted. The game of these primates allows generating strategies of adaptability that people also use. The greater presence of food in its ecosystem allowed the development of a matriarchal society, which solves its tensions by having sexual relations, even between same-sex couples, and that spends much of its time playing in the jungle.

Fig. Interactions of the game network in a group of bonobos. It shows how the bonobos play with a very high proportion of all the members available in their group. Idea was an incoming woman who arrived in the last two weeks of observation.

Fig. Interactions of the game network in a group of bonobos. It shows how the bonobos play with a very high proportion of all the members available in their group. Idea was an incoming woman who arrived in the last two weeks of observation.

BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY + NETWORKS

This project represents in an illustrative way two principles of the research developed in the CICS. In the first place, our ascription to the naturalistic turn that has taken place in the social sciences during the last decades. In this project the implicit premise is that the study of the social dynamics of our closest cousins (together with chimpanzees) can help us understand crucial aspects of our own life in society. Second, the use of a novel analysis technique in this context, the theory of networks.

 

Researchers

Isabel Behncke

Principal Researcher

Ph. D. en Antropología Evolucionaria, Oxford University.

Tamas David-Barrett

Ph. D. en Economía, Universidad de Londres.

Carlos Rodríguez-Sickert

Ph.D. en Economía, Universidad de Cambridge.

Jorge Castillo

DCCS Student

Ingeniero Civil Matemático, Universidad de Concepción.

Products

PAPERS

Behncke, I. (2015). Play in the Peter Pan ape. Current Biology25(1), R24-R27.

Complexity and Play: resource availability changes social network structure of wild bonobos – Jorge Castillo, HBES 2017

 Press

“El juego, regalo evolutivo, del bonobo para el ser humano” – Ted Talk

Nuestros primos hermanos, los bonobos – RTVE

Doctorado en Ciencias de la Complejidad Social UDD - En proceso de Evaluación - No Acreditado