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A new study has found that bonobo mothers introduce their sons to potential partners to help their sons accomplish life-long events. Their strategies include bringing their sons close to ovulating females and using simple and brutal methods to prevent other males from competing with their sons.
For a bonobo mother, this is one of the responsibilities of raising children. Analysis has found that their efforts are rewarding. These actions tripled the chances of their sons having offspring, but these mothers often neglected to help their daughters. Scientists say this is because in the bonobo population, males and females have a more dominant position than females.
Bonobo mothers seize every opportunity to help their sons. In bonobo society, however, females dominate the high group status. Many mothers have group influence, and they try to keep their sons with fertile women to ensure they have better mating opportunities. Mothers are like their sonssocial transport passes, Surbeck said.
Sometimes, when bonobo mothers find other males mating, they separate these hapless chimpanzees in good time. Only in rare cases do these mothers drag unrelated males away from their partners. Surbeck said, I once saw a mother dragging a male leg away. This does not necessarily increase their sons mating success rate, but it shows that they are really involved in the process.
To assess the impact of their interventions, Dr Martin Surbeck, a primatologist at the Mark Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, observed the behavior of wild bonobos. He then compared them with wild chimpanzees in Czech Republic, Tanzania and Uganda. Both groups of mothers help their sons fight, but only bonobos have a positive impact on their sonsmating success. Bonobo chimpanzees used to be known as dwarf chimpanzees and are close relatives of chimpanzees. The two species are the only two species in the genus Chimpanzee.
Surbeck said: This is the first time we have demonstrated that the presence of mothers has an important impact on male health characteristics, in this case their fertility. We were surprised to find that bonobo mothers had a very direct and tremendous impact on the number of third generations. Compared with mother bonobo, mother chimpanzee had little effect on the success rate of son reproduction. According to mating records analyzed by scientists, chimpanzee mothers may even have a slight negative impact on their sonschances of having offspring.
Researchers say that in the bonobo community, the daughter of the mother of the bonobo will break away from the original group and the son will remain there. And for the minority daughters who are still in the group, researchers have not observed any help from their mothers, and there are still few cases in this regard. Surbeck suspects that bonobo mothers have come up with a winning strategy to increase the success rate of offspring reproduction, rather than having their own offspring directly.
By doing so, bonobo mothers can transfer their genes without having more children, at least as Surbeck concludes. They also seem to be able to prolong their survival time, because their mothers life after childbirth is not long.
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