Nahoko Tokuyama says she couldn’t believe what she was seeing when she noticed the wild bonobo with an unknown infant on her back in the Luo Scientific Reserve in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The bonobo, an 18-year-old named Marie, already had two young offspring — 2-year-old Margaux and 5-year-old Marina. Marie hadn’t recently given birth, so it seemed strange that she suddenly had a baby, Tokuyama said. “I didn’t believe my eyes because I didn’t expect it,” Tokuyama, assistant professor at the Center for International Collaboration and Advanced Studies in Primatology (CICASP) and the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University, told Mongabay in an interview. “I knew the number of infants in the group, and suddenly, there was one more infant. I counted again and again [and] finally I took a picture of the infant. Then I finally could believe it. It was very surprising.” The first photo Nahoko Tokuyama took of Marie and the three infants, including Flora. Image by Nahoko Tokuyama. Tokuyama and her colleagues studied Marie and her group members to try and figure out what was going on. Between September 2017 and March 2019, they noticed Marie carrying, grooming, nursing, and sharing food with the infant, who they eventually identified as Flora, the offspring of Fula, a bonobo from another social group. While no one knows what happened to Fula, the researchers came to understand that Marie had adopted Flora as her own, despite being unrelated to her and from a different social group.…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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