There are several groups of people who are turned off by Bonobos.  The anthropologists don’t like Bonobos because they’re too peaceful.  So they have set up these evolutionary scenarios of humans advancing by wiping out other groups and humans being aggressive and warrior-like and vanquishing other groups.  So the Bonobo is too peaceful for their taste.  That’s why they prefer the chimpanzee as a model and they don’t know really what to do with Bonobos.

Then there’s other people who don’t like Bonobos because the females dominate the males. It very often happens to me when I present it in lectures that men will get very grumpy and say, “What’s wrong with those Bonobos?”  The males ought to be dominant in their view.  

Then there’s other people who are very attracted to Bonobos – like polyamorists, for example. They love Bonobos and there are many feminists and many in the gay community that love Bonobos because Bonobos engage in all sorts of sex, not just heterosexual sex.  So there are many people who love Bonobos precisely for the reason that they are what they are.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.