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Keywords:

  • filial cannibalism;
  • bonobos;
  • Lui Kotale

Abstract

We describe the cannibalization of an infant bonobo (circa 2.5 years old) at Lui Kotale, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The infant died of unknown causes and was consumed by several community members including its mother and an older sibling one day after death. Certain features concerning the pattern of consumption fit in with previously observed episodes of cannibalism in Pan, whereas others, such as the mother's participation in consuming the body, are notable. The incident suggests that filial cannibalism among apes need not be the result of nutritional or social stress and does not support the idea that filial cannibalism is a behavioral aberration. Am. J. Primatol. 72:509–514, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.