Friday, June 7, 2013

Pick Me Up! Apes and Human Babies Use Similar Gestures

A chimpanzee asks for a tasty snack. Chimpanzees use many of the same gestures as humans, such as pointing and reaching.


Ape and human infants at comparable stages of development use similar gestures, such as pointing or lifting their arms to be picked up, new research suggests.

Chimpanzee, bonobo and human babies rely mainly on gestures at about a year old, and gradually develop symbolic language (words, for human babies; and signs, for apes) as they get older.

The findings suggest that “gesture plays an important role in the evolution of language, because it preceded language use across the species," said study co-author Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, a developmental psychologist at the College of Staten Island in New York.

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