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Ape gestures offer clues to the evolution of human communication

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.


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Source:Emory University


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