Bonobo Chimps, Using the Genital Handshake as a Conflict Resolution Tool

March 5, 2006

Now here is an interesting species. The number of Bonobo chimpanzees, a close primate relative of humans that inhabits the Congo region, have declined in numberchimp from over 100,000 to less than 5000 in the last 20 years. The reason? Trade in Bonobo meat is a lucrative business in this region of Africa. The meat from a single animal provides the equivalent of two month’s worth of income which has led to extensive poaching.
What a shame it would be to lose the Bonobo chimp. Their method of conflict resolution is truly revolutionary:

Bonobos are known for greeting rival groups with genital handshakes and sensual body rubs. Bonobo spats are swiftly settled — often with a French kiss and a quick round of sex.

It kind of makes you wonder who followed the better path down the evolutionary tree. We can all learn a lesson from these gentle animals. The next time your boss gives you sh*t, just try a genital handshake and see if his/her inner Bonobo comes out.


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