May 3, 2023

EP. 317 — How Do Great Apes Go Wild? with Dr. Laura Simone Lewis

Chimpanzees and bonobos know how to live it up. They hang out with their friends, they take self-care breaks, they eat fresh fruit, and when it’s raining they fashion umbrellas out of leaves. Dr. Laura Simone Lewis is back on the show this week to tell us all about the social lives of these dynamic individuals, who happen to share 98% of our DNA. From their favorite juice flavors to their equivalent of Netflix and chill—this episode’s got it all.


Missed Dr. Lewis’s first episode on the show, all about our great ape family tree? Check it out here.


Dr. Laura Simone Lewis is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Psychology department at UC Berkeley. She received her PhD from Harvard through the department of Human Evolutionary Biology last year. She studies how social cognition has evolved in our closest living primate cousins, chimpanzees and bonobos!


You can follow Dr. Lewis on Twitter @LauraSimoneLew.


Want to support our chimpanzee and bonobo cousins? Here are some groups to follow:


Lola Ya Bonobo in DRC

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda

Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya

Jane Goodall Institute

World Wildlife Fund


Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @CuriousWithJVN to join the conversation.


Jonathan is on Instagram @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Transcripts for each episode are available at


Find books from Getting Curious guests at; we’ll be updating it soon with more releases!


Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our editor is Andrew Carson. Production support from Julie Carrillo, Chris McClure, and Erin McKeon.


Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIÑ; for more, head to


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness & Laura Simone Lewis   JVN [00:00:00] Welcome to Getting Curious. This is Jonathan Van Ness. Every week I interview an amazing expert about something that I’m curious about. But honey, sometimes those experts come back and this is one of my most favorite experts ever. Welcome back to the show, Dr. Laura Simone Lewis. We’re going to learn all about chimpanzees and bonobos. It’s giving you, like, Graduate 201 If you did not listen to our great ape episode, like, please get it together. Hi, by the way. Laura, how are you?   LAURA SIMONE LEWIS [00:00:29] Hi. It’s so nice to see you. I’m doing really well. I’ve been excited about this for a long time, so I’m so happy to be back.   JVN [00:00:35] I’m so excited that you’re here. If you’re ever, like, at school, like, will, some would ever be, like, Dr. Lewis!    LAURA SIMONE LEWIS [00:00:40] Yeah, I get called Dr. Lewis a lot now, whic

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