If Womens Rule the World

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It’s a question that’s sure to spark gender wars: What would happen if only women ruled the world? Would we be better off? Would there be less war, more charity?

We may not have to look much further than some of our closest biological relatives for answers. Bonobos (Pan Paniscus), much like chimpanzees, share over 98% of their DNA with humans. But unlike chimps and humans, bonobo social structure is strictly matriarchal. Not only do women possess more social status, but a male’s status in bonobo society is typically derived from the status of his mother.

It turns out that bonobo society is also far more peaceful, caring and compassionate. And now new research is starting to prove once and for all that the reason bonobos display more of these positive traits is precisely because they are ruled by women.

Take for instance a recent research trip by primatologist Nahoko Tokuyama of Kyoto University. While trekking through dense jungle in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tokuyama came across a group of bonobos attempting to rescue one of their own from a snare.

Such snares are an unfortunate reality throughout bonobo habitat in the Congo. Though they are usually meant for other animals, it’s not uncommon for apes to get trapped too. Most other species will abandon individuals who become ensnared and injured — but not bonobos.

Tokuyama observed in amazement as other bonobos immediately rushed to the aid of their ensnared friend. One individual carefully untangled the snare from the woody ground vines it was anchored to, enabling the trapped male to move. Meanwhile another individual tried but failed to remove the wire.

Eventually the apes had to give up for the day, as it was getting late and the group needed to find a safer place to sleep. The injured male, tragically, had to be abandoned since he could not follow.

What happened first thing the next morning, though, was truly remarkable: The rest of the bonobo troupe traveled back to their fallen friend. To reach him, they had to traverse 2 dense kilometers, through an area that had already been picked clean of fruit. In other words, the only reason they were returning to the area was to continue their rescue effort. The apes, led by females, apparently believed their friend’s well being was the most important thing.

“It’s the first time we’ve observed this behavior in primates,” said Takeshi Furuichi to New Scientist.

“The unity of the group is more important to them,” he added, theorizing that the reason bonobo society is so caring is because they are led by females.

One reason that females make more compassionate leaders is that they rely more on one another during child rearing. Caring for one another and group cohesion are more paramount to their own overall well being. Primates which are ruled by male social hierarchies tend to be far more competitive, and treat each other as expendable.

In other words: sorry guys. If bonobo society is any measure, it looks like women may have a point. Maybe the world would be better off if it was ruled by females.

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