Abstract # 1:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 08:00 AM-09:00 AM: Session 1 (Salon F (Sixth Floor)) Keynote Address


R. Wrangham
Harvard University, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Domesticated animals tend to exhibit a ‘domestication syndrome’, i.e. a suite of biological differences from wild ancestors in traits such as body coloration, osteology, dentition, brain size, physiology and behavior. The domestication syndrome is putatively associated with heterochronic changes in development, including both selected traits and non-selected correlated by-products. Similarities in the domestication syndrome across carnivores, ungulates and rodents indicate that it is influenced by similar sets of developmental constraints in different taxa, and thus suggest that similar regulatory genes can operate among diverse mammals including primates. Brian Hare, Victoria Wobber and I suggest that the domestication syndrome derives primarily from selection against aggression, and that it is exhibited in bonobos Pan paniscus compared to their sister species chimpanzees Pan troglodytes. Specifically we hypothesize that bonobos are the more derived species of Pan, and that as a result of their unique evolutionary ecology selection occurred against male aggressiveness. Domestication-like traits in bonobos include differences from chimpanzees in anatomy, physiology and behavior. A novel set of a priori experimental tests of this hypothesis show that as predicted, bonobos exhibit various differences in behavior and cognition that stem from developmental delays compared to chimpanzees. Supported by European Research Commission Advanced Grant Agreement 233297 and NSF (NSF-BCS-08-27552-02, NSF-BCS-10-25172) to BH, and by grants from the Leakey Foundation, NSF-BCS-0851291 (DDIG) and Wenner-Gren Foundation Grant to VW.