Bonobos comfort friends in distress

Comforting a friend or relative in distress may be a more hard-wired behavior than previously thought, according to a new study of bonobos, which are great apes known for their empathy and close relation to humans and chimpanzees.

This provides key evolutionary insight into how critical social skills may develop in humans. The results were published by the journal PLOS One.

Researchers from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, observed juvenile bonobos at the Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo engaging in consolation behavior more than their adult counterparts. Juvenile bonobos (3 to 7 years old) are equivalent in age to preschool or elementary school-aged children.


great apes known for their empathy 

and close relation to humans

and chimpanzees.