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Media Advisory 10-020

Study of Bonobos Offers Clues to What Makes Us Human

How did Homo sapiens come down from the trees, and why did no one follow?

University anthropologist Brian Hare.
View video

Brian Hare discusses his work with bonobos and chimpanzees in his Aug. 24, 2010 lecture at NSF.

August 16, 2010

View videos of Brian Hare's NSF lecture and bonobos at play and in experiments at the Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

As humans, we have two closest living evolutionary relatives: the well known chimpanzee and the little known bonobo. While chimpanzees and humans have the potential for lethal violence, bonobos have never been observed to kill one another, and are even highly tolerant of strangers.

In his NSF Distinguished Lecture, Duke University anthropologist Brian Hare will share latest findings from his research comparing the psychology of our two closest living relatives, from their ability to cooperate to how they make decisions. Ultimately, Hare will confront the question: Are humans really as far removed from the animal kingdom as we think?

This NSF Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by the NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences and the NSF Office of Legislative and Public Affairs.


NSF SBE-OLPA Distinguished Lecture


Brian Hare, assistant professor of anthropology at Duke University


August 24, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. EDT


NSF Conference Center at Stafford Place II (adjacent to NSF Headquarters)
4121 Wilson Boulevard - Room 595
Arlington, Va. 22230

Metro:Orange Line to Ballston

Note: Visitors must RSVP to Josh Chamot in OLPA to register for a visitor pass for access to the Stafford II building. Contact Josh at or (703) 292-7730.


Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, email:

Program Contacts
Elizabeth Tran, NSF, (703) 292-5338, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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