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Endangered specie is closely related to humans!

The bonobo lives in a female-dominated society in the Congo.

My former newspaper friend, Jill, and I have been playing the six-letter version of the popular word game Wordle. We share screen shots of our games with each other to see what some of our guess words are and how we arrived at the day's winning word.

Recently she used the word "bonobo." That was a new one to me! She said she watches a lot of nature shows on TV and learned about these hefty looking apes found in the Congo region of Africa. I immediately looked it up and discovered that they are an endangered species similar to the chimpanzee. They typically are 28 to 35 inches tall and 68 to 86 pounds.

Here's what Wikipedia and the World Wildlife Fund have to say about these fascinating creatures who are closely related to humans:

Bonobos and chimpanzees look very similar and both share 98.7 percent of their DNA with humans — making the two species our closest living relatives. Bonobos are usually a bit smaller, leaner and darker than chimpanzees. Their society is also different: Bonobo groups tend to be more peaceful and are led by females.

Wild bonobos can only be found in forests south of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Sometimes known as the pygmy chimpanzee, bonobos weren’t recognized as a separate species until 1929. As the last great ape to be scientifically described, much remains unknown about the bonobo. Efforts to survey the species over the past two decades have been hampered by the remote nature of its habitat, the patchiness of their distribution and years of civil unrest within the DRC.

Bonobos are unusual among apes for their matriarchal social structure. Bonobos do not have a defined territory and communities will travel over a wide range. Due to the nomadic nature of the females and evenly distributed food in their environment, males do not gain any obvious advantages by forming alliances with other males, or by defending a home range, as chimpanzees do.

The bonobo is distinguished by relatively long legs, pink lips, dark face, tail-tuft through adulthood, and parted long hair on its head.

Aging bonobos lose their playful streak and become noticeably more cranky in old age.

For more about these fascinating creatures, do a Google search. And feel free to use BONOBO the next time you're playing Wordle!

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