Our Nearest Relatives: Bonobos and Chimpanzees

What we share with our nearest surviving relatives, the male-centered chimpanzee and the female-centered, erotic, and peaceable bonobo. How that understanding helps shape who we are vs. who we think we are.

  • Bonobos and Chimpanzees

    About five and a half million years ago the human line of descent split from the ancestor we share with chimps and the lesser known bonobos. 98.7% of our DNA is exactly the same as theirs, including some very basic traits often attributed only to humans. Are we more like the aggressive chimp or the peaceful bonobo?

  • Human Traits in Our Nearest Relatives

    All animals adapt, develop and diversify over time to ensure their species’ survival, so it’s not surprising that we share characteristics with our nearest relatives. Some of these are less well known, and quite surprising.