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Researchers create chimpanzee dictionary


Posted on Sunday, 6 July, 2014 | Comment icon 8 comments

Chimps use their own sign language to communicate. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Thomas Lersch
Sign language gestures used by our primate cousins have been documented in full for the first time.
Chimpanzees are well known for using their own unique hand gestures to communicate with one another and scientists have long sought to determine if these signs shared a common ancestry with the languages of modern humans.

Among the gestures documented are signs for "follow me", "stop that" and "take this".

The motion of a mother showing the sole of her foot to an infant is believed to indicate that she wishes for it to climb up on to her while touching another chimp's arm generally indicates a desire to be scratched.

A total of 66 gestures were identified including some that could be used individually and others that could be strung together to form more complex exchanges. The researchers also noted that the meanings of these gestures seemed to be consistent regardless of which ape was using them.

The findings were based on more than 4,500 gestures recorded in Uganda between 2007 and 2009.

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (8)

Tags: Chimpanzee

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Eldorado on 4 July, 2014, 20:43
What does throwing turds at folk mean? The obvious?
Comment icon #2 Posted by GreenmansGod on 4 July, 2014, 21:39
I disagree when they said they are the only animals doing intentional communication (besides us). I think it is pretty clear dolphins and whales do it. I bet elephants do it too.
Comment icon #3 Posted by bulveye on 4 July, 2014, 21:44
I think octopus and cuttlefish can do a lot of communication that we would understand if we could live as fast as them and learn.
Comment icon #4 Posted by abodysite on 7 July, 2014, 0:24
I fully agree. Cuttlefish, squid and such are so much more intelligent than most of us give them credit for. e.g. Humboldt squid. Probably one of the more intelligent animals in the oceans. Look at the way they communicate...even with us humans when we go diving with them.
Comment icon #5 Posted by :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR: on 7 July, 2014, 16:17
I think octopus and cuttlefish can do a lot of communication that we would understand if we could live as fast as them and learn. I'd hate to be the person who has the task of decyphering an octopus's sign language repertoire.
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer on 7 July, 2014, 17:12
Can the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes be far behind? First we learn what they are saying which is probably "We ain't related to your dumb a$$!"
Comment icon #7 Posted by redhen on 7 July, 2014, 18:37
Is there a Chimp sign for "stop using me for your unnecessary vivisection experiments? "
Comment icon #8 Posted by Sundew on 9 July, 2014, 1:05
66 gestures to communicate: 60 of them mean "banana"...


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