Skip to main content
Log in

The responses of bonobos (Pan paniscus) to their mirror images: Evidence of selfrecognition

Human Evolution

Abstract

This research examined the responses of bonobos (Pan paniscus) to their mirror images. Nine bonobos were presented alternately with the reflective and non-reflective sides of a mirror. The apes exhibited considerable interest in the mirror, and immature animals exhibited higher frequencies of contingent action and inactive looking than did adults. four animals used the mirror to inspect parts of their bodies that were otherwise not visible to them, indicating that bonobos are capable of self-recognition.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Anderson J.R., 1984.Monkeys with mirrors: Some questions for primate psychology. International Journal of Primatology 5: 81–98.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anderson J.R., 1986. Mirror mediated finding of hidden food by monkeys (Macaca tonkeana andM. fascicularis).Journal of comparative Psychology, 100: 237–242.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gallup G.G. Jr., 1970. Chimpanzee: Self-recognition.Science 167: 86–87.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gallup G.G. Jr. and Suarez S.D., 1986.Self-awareness and the emegence of mind in humans and other primates. In J. Suls and A.G. Greenwald (Eds.),Psychological perspectives on the self. (Vol. 3, pp. 3–26). Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hyatt C.W. and Hopkins W.D., 1994.Self-awareness in Bonobos and Chimpanzees: a comparative perspective. In Parker, S., Mitchell, R., and Boccia, M. (Eds.),Self-awareness in animals and humans (pp. 248–253. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kano T., 1982.The social group of pygmy chimpanzees (Pan paniscus) at Wamba. Primates 23: 171–188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lewis. and Brooks-Gunn J., 1979.Social cognition and the acquisition of self. New York: Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lin A.C., Bard K.A. and Anderson J.R., 1992.Development of self-recognition in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Journal of Comparative Psychology 106: 120–127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Menzel E., Savage-Rumbaugh E.S. and Lawson J., 1985.Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) spatial problem solving with the use of mirrors and televised equivalents of mirrors Journals of Comparative Psychology 99: 211–217.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parker S.T., Mitchell R. and Boccia M., 1994.Expanding dimensions of the self: Through the looking glass and beyond. In Parker, S., Mitchell, R., Boccia, M., (Eds.)Self awareness in animals and humans (pp. 3–19) New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Patterson F. and Cohn R. 1994.Self-recognition and self-awareness in lowland gorillas. In Parker, S., Mitchell, R., Boccia, M., (Eds.)Self-awareness in animals and humans (pp. 273–290). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Patterson F.G., 1984.Self-recognition by Gorilla gorilla. Gorilla, 7: 2–3.

    Google Scholar 

  • Povinelli D.J., Rulf A.B., Landau K.R. and Bierschwale D.T., 1993.Self-recognition in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Distribution, ontogeny, and patterns of emergence. Journal of Comparative Psychology 107: 347–372.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Savage-Rumbaugh E.S., 1988.A new look at ape language-comprehension of vocal speech. In D. Leger (Ed.),Comparative perspectives in modern psychology: Nebraska symposium on motivation. (pp. 201–256). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Savage-Rumbaugh E.S., McDonald K., Sevcik R.A. and Hopkins W.D., R.E., 1986.Spontaneous symbol acquisition and communicative use by pygmy chimpanzees (Pan paniscus). Journal of Experimental Psychology, 115: 1–25.

    Google Scholar 

  • Suarez S.D. and Gallup G.G., Jr., 1981.Self-recognition in chimpanzees and orangutans, but not gorillas. Journal of Human Evolution, 10: 175–188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Swartz K.B. and Evans S., 1991.Not all chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) show self-recognition. Primates 32: 483–496.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Westergaard, G.C., Hyatt, C.W. The responses of bonobos (Pan paniscus) to their mirror images: Evidence of selfrecognition. Hum. Evol. 9, 273–279 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02435514

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02435514

Key words

Navigation