Communication Development In Chimps Parallels That Of Human Infants: Study

    Inam Ansari
    June8/ 2023

    London: Researchers found young chimps combine different gestures, vocalisations, and facial expressions in a way that mimics the development of communication in human infants. The study was published in 'Animal Behaviour.' Durham University psychologists discovered that young chimps combine different communication signals, which may help them be better understood by other chimps in different situations such as playing or fighting. The researchers discovered that this skill develops throughout childhood and adolescence. Combining playful open-mouth faces with laughing, touching another chimp while whimpering, and baring their teeth while squeaking were examples of such combined signals. The researchers say that understanding this "multimodal" form of communicating could shed important light on how communication evolved in humans and our closest ape relatives, and tell us more about how our own language skills emerge. Their study, which also involved the University of Portsmouth, is published in the journal Animal Behaviour. Researchers observed 28 semi-wild chimpanzees, ranging in age from one to 11 years old, at the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust sanctuary in northern Zambia. While previous studies on apes have largely looked at different forms of communication signals in isolation (gestures, vocalisations, facial expressions), the new findings looked at how chimpanzees combined these different forms of communication to see how this developed with age and in varying circumstances. The researchers found that chimpanzees consistently used standalone communication signals - such as grunting, arm movements or facial expressions - across all ages and in different situations. However, they also showed that as the chimpanzees got older, ...

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