Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Monkey Blogging: Gorillas Know Sign Langauge From Birth

As I mentioned a few months ago, I started a regularly recurring blog entry meme every Friday afternoon, inspired by Bruce Schneier's regular series of "Friday Squid Blogging" posts, and my very own maddening Monkey Theory.

Here is this week's installment.

Claire Bates writes on The Mail Online:

Gorillas are born with an international sign language of gestures that they use to communicate.

The largest scientific study of the great apes revealed they had a repertoire of 102 different signals - more than any other mammal.

Many of these such as 'disco arm shake' and 'tapping other' were common in all the gorillas studied despite being in different continents.

The researchers from St Andrews University also found each gesture was carried out with close attention to their audience: silent signals were only given when other apes could see them.

Lead author Professor Byrne said: 'As we added more populations to the study, most gestures that had seemed specific to one individual or one site almost always turned up elsewhere.

'Any two populations are likely to differ a lot in the repertoire of gestures shown, but all are drawn from a very large, species-wide ‘pool’ of possible gestural signals.'

The team concluded that the gestures do not need to be learnt, because they are
already part of the natural gorilla communicative repertoire.

More here.

Image source: The Mail Online


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