Wild Chimpanzees Language Translated

January 19, 2016

Chimpanzees and Humans aren't quite as set apart as some would like to think they are.  Researchers claim that they have #translated the meaning of a number of gestures used by wild chimpanzees to communicate with each other.

 

Dr. Catherine Hobaiter from the University of St. Andrews led the research, and affirms that a group of researchers were able to translate 19 specific #messages communicated with a 'lexicon' of 66 gestures. "Only humans and chimps have a system of #communication where they deliberately send a message to another individual", she says.

 

There are previous researches which already reveal that apes and monkeys do understand complex information but this research goes one step further and proves that some of the chimps' gestures are used consistently to convey one meaning.

 

For instance, when a mother presents her foot to her offspring it is a 'climb on me" sign, and the youngster will immediately jump on to the mother's back, so that they can travel together or flee from trouble. Chimps also check to see if they have the attention of the animal they want to communicate with especially when they take small bites from leaves, which is a sign used only to elicit sexual attention.

 

Many gestures are very subtle and need more translation work to be accurately identified, but the big message from this study is that there is another species out there that knows how to effectively use communication.

 

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