Difference Between Chimpanzees and Bonobos

Chimpanzees vs Bonobos 

The chimpanzees are exclusively African or endemic to the African continent, and there are only two species of them. One of those two species is known as the Pygmy Chimpanzee or Bonobo, and the other one is referred as the Common Chimpanzee. They both belong to one genus, but there are enough differences to distinguish one from the other based on their physical characteristics, behaviours, and the natural distribution.


Chimpanzee, Common Chimpanzee, Robust Chimpanzee, or Chimp is scientifically known as Pan troglodytes. There are few distinct subspecies of chimps living in different regions of Africa. The Western and some Central African countries have been the distributed regions of these subspecies. Chimps are believed to be the most intelligent animal next to humans, and they are the closest living relative to man, as well. An adult chimp male could weigh up to 70 kilograms and can be as tall as more than 1.6 metres. Usually, the females are smaller than the males. They have long and powerful arms, which are very important in climbing trees as well as in walking on the ground. Their broad soles and short toes of the hind limb are helpful features for walking and maintaining the balance. Their ability to stand upright as humans is important. Chimps have a dark coloured coat and possess an excellent pair of eyes those are naturally facilitated with binocular and colour visions. The colour of the face of chimps varies with age; it becomes darker in older ones than in young individuals. They are capable of making grunts, hoots, and screams to communicate with each other. It is interesting to notice that sometimes they can drum on hollow trees. Always, the strongest male leads their troops, and this alpha-male position is usually passed along the bloodlines. Chimps are omnivores, and they hunt in groups sometimes. They are highly territorial, and the males never allow the neighbours to cross the boundaries.


Bonobo, Pan paniscus, is known by many common names, with many adjectives in front of chimpanzee, including pygmy, gracile, or dwarf. Bonobo is a slender bodied chimpanzee with a black colour face and bright pink lips. They are restricted to the Central African region, mainly located south to the Congo River. The males do not grow contrastingly larger than their females, but it is a slight difference. Interestingly, the female bonobos dominate their troops, and those include a large number of individuals with males, females, and offspring. Bonobos are omnivorous feeders, but they do not often hunt in groups. The territories are clearly marked but sometimes they intrude into neighbouring territories, allowing them to be overlapped. In fact, they sometimes share sexual mates within troops. It is interesting to notice the sexualism in bonobos is frequent, and it is being used to greet or treat the others. Scientists have observed female bonobos with homosexual behaviours.


What is the difference between Chimpanzee and Bonobo?

• Chimp is larger and heavier than bonobos.

• Bonobos are geographically more restricted than chimps.

• Face colours are changed in chimps with age, whereas bonobos do not change their face colours with age.

• Chimps are sexually arrogant, and the stronger males protect the females in heat, while bonobo females are highly sexually oriented with homosexual behaviours sometimes. In fact, the breeding could take place between troops.

• Chimps hunt in groups but not the bonobos.

• Chimps never allow their territories to be overlapped, but bonobos do.