and the benefits promoting this behavior. Future analyses of the nutritional value of the fruits as well as competition between bonobos and other large mammals for these particular food items may shed further light on these issues. However, even in this preliminary stage the data presented have some interesting implications. It has been proposed that food sharing among higher primates is essentially associated with hunting behavior (e.g. Etkin 1954; Tooby and DeVore 1987). However, consistent with conclusions from previous studies ( Kavanagh 1972; McGrew 1975), the observations on bonobos presented above indicate that neither hunting nor meat consumption is a necessary precondition for food sharing. Moreover, contrary to previous reports from chimpanzees (e.g. McGrew 1975), division of plant food is not restricted to mother-infant dyads nor to close kin. Instead, it occurs most frequently among adult females, the faction within the community with the weakest kinship bonds.
The authors would like to thank I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, G. Neuweiler, and D. Ploog for technical support and advice. Thanks are also due to Lombeya Bosongo Likundelio and Kambayi Bwatshia (Dept. de l'Enseignement Supérieur et Universitaire et de la Recherche Scientifique, Kinshasa) and to Zana Ndontoni and Kande Muamba ( Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro), who kindly provided permission to conduct field work. The technical and logistic support provided by the German Embassy at Kinshasa, the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit ( Kinshasa office) and the Catholic Missions at Kinshasa, Bamanya, Boende and Befale is gratefully acknowledged. Special thanks are due to H. Dettmann, E. Ott, C. Kühn, P. Laschan, and B. Unger for their generous help and hospitality, and to R. Malenky and N. Thompson-Handler for sharing their ideas and experiences with us. We also would like to thank C. Roberts for correction of the English text and P. Wiessner, V. Sommer, and H. Hofer for critical discussions and comments. For assistance in the field we thank JP. Bontamba- Lokuli, P. Bonzenza, F. and L. Christiaans and M. Ikala-Lokuli. Financial support was provided by the Max-Planck-Society, the University of Munich, the German Science Foundation (DFG), and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).