Friday, June 14, 2013

Apes, Toddler Show That Language May Have Evolved From Gestures

What do a chimpanzee, a bonobo and a toddler all have in common? They all use gestures to communicate. By studying hours of video of a female chimp named Panpanzee, a female bonobo named Panbanisha and a little girl with the initials GN, a team of psychologists hope to gain some insight into how spoken language evolved in humans...“This is one line of evidence for the gestural foundation of human language evolution,” the wrote...“The most basic finding … is the similarity of gestures among bonobo, chimpanzee, and human child at comparable periods of development,” the research team wrote. For all three species, these gestures were most often considered “communicative” because they were paired with eye contact, a vocalization or persistence. The biggest difference was the GN was far more likely to combine her gestures with some type of vocalization. more

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