3 min read

Bonobos Given TV To Track Their Viewing Habits

We still have much more to learn about the behavior and complex inner-workings of our closest primate cousins -- but thankfully, one of the most pressing questions about bonobos may soon be answered: What kind of movies do they like most?

Primate researchers at the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany have installed a fancy new flatscreen television in their bonobo enclosure to observe the viewing habits of apes -- but they won't be catching up on Mad Men anytime soon.

The TV offers bonobos five distinct short-movies, controlled by buttons mounted below the display -- a chimp-centric selection of romance, action, food, and family programing -- each of them starring animals like themselves, filmed in wild in Congo.

"They are short films lasting between five and seven minutes," zoo spokesperson Karin Herczog tells The Local."There is one featuring bonobos eating, one of them having sex, another featuring aggressive behavior, one about them raising babies and a general one of everyday themes."

The experiment is the brainchild of Dr. Amy Perish, a primatologist who has spent over two decades studying bonobo behavior, designed to better understand their preferences in terms of social interaction.

For their cooperation, Herczog says the bonobos will get to watch other programs too once the research has concluded, but just for an hour or so a day "so they don't spend all their time watching it," she says.

A tendency to zone out in front of the television, it seems, is included somewhere in our 98-percent-identical DNA.

[Via The Local.de]