Why They Matter
Our peace-loving cousins are still a mystery
Bonobos share 98.7% of their genetic code with humans, making them, along with chimpanzees, our closest living relatives. As the last great ape to be scientifically discovered, much still remains unknown about the bonobo.
A unique social structure
Bonobos may look much like chimpanzees, but their social structure is very different. These animals live in groups led by females and are more peaceful than the chimpanzee. In bonobo society, sexual relations play an important role in maintaining that peace—to build and maintain relationships and to resolve conflicts.