Isabel Behncke Izquierdo studies the social behavior of primates and the birth of human cultures.

Why you should listen

TED Fellow Isabel Behncke Izquierdo writes: I was born and raised in Chile, and was educated in animal behaviour and evolutionary anthropology in Cambridge and Oxford. For my PhD work, I study the social behaviour (and play behaviour in particular) of wild bonobos in DR Congo.

Bonobos are, together with chimpanzees, our living closest relatives; however we know very little about them -- mostly through captive work. In Wamba, a most remote jungle location, I have observed unique aspects of bonobo lives (from imaginary play and laughter to inter-group encounters to accidents and death) that challenge and illuminate our understanding of human evolution. I aim to link the play of adult bonobos to insights on human laughter, joy, creativity and our capacity for wonder and exploration.


Isabel Behncke Izquierdo’s TED talk