Behold the bonobo, our ape cousin that’s kinder and gentler than the chimp or, well, us. Now scientists have mapped the primate’s DNA, and some researchers say that may eventually reveal secrets about how the darker side of our nature evolved.
Scientists have found that we are as close genetically to the peace-loving but little-known bonobo as we are to the more violent and better understood chimpanzee. It’s as if they are siblings and we are cousins, related to them both equally, sharing some traits with just bonobos and other characteristics with just chimps.
Bonobos and humans share 98.7 percent of the same genetic blueprint, the same percentage shared with chimps, according to a study released Wednesday by the journal Nature. The two apes are much more closely related to each other — sharing 99.6 percent of their genomes — said study lead author Kay Prufer, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.
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