Bonobos have found to be losing their sight at around age 40. The scientific study of animal behavior has meant, among other things, that humans have had to accept that they are not the only animals that use tools, show emotions, and recognize themselves in a mirror. Still, it’s a bit strange to see aging bonobos looking as if they need some reading glasses. They aren’t trying to find out the small-print ingredients for over-the-counter pain relievers (another human-over-40 habit). They’re trying to find the itty-bitty lice in each other’s fur,so they can do their neighborly and familial grooming duty and have a snack. Hegngjin Ryu and colleagues, from Kyoto University in Japan, and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, recorded 14 bonobos grooming each other at the Scientific Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the apes have been part of a long study.
The scientists knew the ages of the bonobos they were recording, so they just had to get accurate distance measures. They did this by first photographing the ears of each animal and then photographing a ruler at the same distance. That let them come up with an ear length, which they used to calculate the distance from eye to louse.
The scientists found that the grooming distance didn’t change based on the gender of the bonobos or how closely they were related, but it changed with age very much the way human sight changes. From the late 30s to early 40s, the grooming distance increased. Age-related farsightedness is thought to be more popular in these Bonobo communities, However, the evolutionary split that led on one side to the great apes, including bonobos and chimpanzees, and on the other to human beings, happened thousands of years ago so there was plenty of time for change.
I chose this article because it shows how much humans and monkeys are alike. This is important to the world because when we think of animals being a lot like humans, we humans will hopefully realize that wildlife needs to be protected just like we are. Now more people might believe that we actually did evolve from apes and chimpanzees.
by Fox 4T