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8 years ago

Human and Ape Infants Use Similar Gestures

Geo Beats
Geo Beats
A new study shows that the gestures and involuntary reactions of infant humans are very similar to those of baby apes.

A new study shows that the gestures and involuntary reactions of infant humans are very similar to those of baby apes.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles did a video analysis of human, chimpanzee and bonobo babies interacting with a human caretaker.

The three species have significant similarities including reaching their arms up when they want to be picked up and pointing to something they want.

This data led to speculation among the team that the common ancestor of humans, chimps, and bonobos probably used the same nonverbal gestures for communication.

Although apes are unable to speak, understanding the communication patterns we share with them can help us learn more about how language started from attaching a symbolic gesture to something external or innate.

Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, a developmental psychologist at the College of Staten Island in New York and co-author of the study, said: “We're getting an idea of what our common ancestor was like in terms of how that ancestor might have been able to communicate.”

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