Scientists have witnessed bonobo apes adopting infants who were born outside of their social group for the first time in the wild. Chio, aged between 52 to 57 years old, who is thought to be post-menopausal, was seen to adopt three-year-old Ruby who had been part of another unknown group. Marie, an 18-year-old bonobo was also seen to adopt Flora, who is estimated to be two-and-a-half-years-old, after Flora’s mother disappeared from a separate group. Neither Chio nor Marie, who had already had their own offspring, had any pre-existing family connections to the adopted infants or any strong social connections with the youngsters’ biological mothers, yet both readily adopted the young bonobos. Both adoptive mothers carried, groomed, nursed, and shared food with their adopted young.
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