Navigation Links
Ape gestures offer clues to the evolution of human communication

Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have found bonobos and chimpanzees use manual gestures of their hands, feet and limbs more flexibly than they do facial expressions and vocalizations, further supporting the evolution of human language began with gestures as the gestural origin hypothesis of language suggests. This study appears in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Working with two groups of bonobos (13 animals) and two groups of chimpanzees (34 animals), Yerkes researchers Amy Pollick, PhD, and Frans de Waal, PhD, distinguished 31 manual gestures and 18 facial/vocal signals. They found both species used facial/vocal signals similarly, but the same did not hold true for the manual gestures. Rather, the researchers found both within and between species the manual gestures were less closely tied to a particular emotion and, thereby, serve a more adaptable function. For example, a single gesture may communicate an entirely different message depending upon the social context in which it is used.

"A chimpanzee may stretch out an open hand to another as a signal for support, whereas the same gesture toward a possessor of food signals a desire to share," said Pollick. "A scream, however, is a typical response for victims of intimidation, threat or attack. This is so for both bonobos and chimpanzees, and suggests the vocalization is relatively invariant," Pollick continued.

By studying similar types of communication in closely related species, researchers are able to determine shared ancestry. We know gestures are evolutionarily younger than facial expressions and vocalizations, as shown by their presence in apes and humans but not in monkeys. "A gesture that occurs in bonobos and chimpanzees as well as humans likely was present in the last common ancestor," said Pollick. "A good example of a shared gesture is the open-hand begging gesture, used by both apes and humans. This gesture can be used for food, if there is food around, but it also can be used to beg for help, for support, for money and so on. It's meaning is context-dependent," added de Waal.

Looking for further distinctions between species, the researchers found bonobos use gestures more flexibly than do chimpanzees. "Different groups of bonobos used gestures in specific contexts less consistently than did different groups of chimpanzees," said Pollick. The researcher's findings also suggest bonobos and chimpanzees engage in multi-modal communication, combining their gestures with facial expressions and vocalizations to communicate a message. "While chimpanzees produce more of these combinations, bonobos respond to them more often. This finding suggests the bonobo is a better model of symbolic communication in our early ancestors," concluded Pollick.


'"/>

Source:Emory University


Related biology news :

1. Ancient olfaction protein is shared by many bugs, offering new pest control target
2. Protein offers way to stop microscopic parasites in their tracks
3. Nanoparticles offer new hope for detection and treatment
4. Whats really making you sick? Plant pathologists offer the science behind Sick Building Syndrome
5. Gene silencing technique offers new strategy for treating, curing disease
6. Mosaic mouse technique offers a powerful new tool to study diseases and genetics
7. Engineered skin offers clues to melanoma development
8. Flies on speed offer insight into the roles of dopamine in sleep and arousal
9. Neurotransmitters signal aggressive cancer, offer potential for early diagnosis
10. Study findings offer potential new targets for antibiotics
11. Dendritic cells offer new therapeutic target for drugs to treat MS and other autoimmune disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:12/19/2016)... 19 de diciembre de 2016  Mosaic Biomedicals SL anunció hoy ... de MSC-1, un anticuerpo humanizado que se espera comenzar a utilizar ... múltiples sitios previstos a lo largo de Europa y Norteamérica. ... MSC-1 es el primer ... leucemia (LIF), una citoquina pleiotrópica que se sobreexpresa en ciertos tumores ...
(Date:12/16/2016)... 16, 2016 The global wearable medical device market, in ... 2021 from USD 5.31 billion in 2016, at a CAGR of ... ... technological advancements in medical devices, launch of a growing number of ... connectivity among healthcare providers, and increasing focus on physical fitness. ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Dec 15, 2016 ... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... The report forecasts the global military biometrics market to ... The report has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis ... its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... Ohio , Jan. 17, 2017  On January ... the 35th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in ... Joseph D. Kittle, Jr. , spoke to pharmaceutical leaders ... developed by ProclaRx to break down and destroy biofilms.  ... protect bacteria and prevent antibiotics and the body,s immune ...
(Date:1/14/2017)... ... January 14, 2017 , ... ... providing complete end-to-end genome assemblies to researchers around the globe. Long considered ... obstacle in answering a wide range of scientific questions. The announcement was ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... January 13, 2017 , ... FireflySci has been ... found among its diverse customer base. The latest entry in this field is ... including BTX and Bio-Rad. FireflySci is introducing three distinct varieties including a 10x1mm, ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... Huffman Engineering, Inc. , a ... will work in the company’s Lincoln office as a chemical engineer. In his ... systems for customers in the life science manufacturing and water/wastewater industries. , Prior to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: