Peacekeepers of the Animal Kingdom: Bonobos
smooth things over: to make a problem or disagreement less severe or serious
Bonobos in the Congo rainforest, are teaching us new things about our primate family. Bonobos and chimpanzees are our closest living relatives. They share almost 99% of their DNA with humans. Like us chimps are sometimes aggressive, but bonobos are different. They show a level of trust and friendship that is rare in the animal world.
Bonobos don’t just groom other bonobos in their group. They groom bonobos from other communities. They also share food and resources with other bonobo groups.
Unlike humans and chimps, we have never seen a bonobo kill another bonobo. Bonobos also approach conflict in unique ways. Instead of being aggressive, they prefer social bonding and sex to smooth things over. Interestingly, Bonobos live in a matriarchal society.
These discoveries challenge what we think about aggression in primates, including humans. It shows us that the potential for peace and cooperation may be deeply rooted in our nature.
1. After the argument, Maria baked cookies to smooth things over with her roommate.
2. Sometimes a simple apology is enough to smooth things over.
3. The manager offered free coffee to the customers to smooth things over after the long wait.