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Tue Feb 12, 2019, 10:47 PM

Chimp gestures are underpinned by human language rules, study finds

Mathematical principles common to many human languages also apply to chimpanzee ‘play’ gestures, scientists have found.

Press Association
Last updated: 13 February 2019 - 12.40am

Chimpanzee sign language apes the way humans communicate, research has shown.

The primates employ gestures that follow some of the same rules intrinsic to human language, scientists have learned.

Experts made the discovery after studying videos of wild chimps living in Uganda’s Budongo Forest Reserve.

Like other great apes, chimpanzees lack the ability to speak.

However, they make use of meaningful gestures, much like deaf people “signing” to each other.

The study found that chimp gestures are underpinned by mathematical patterns, or linguistic laws, similar to those seen in human language.

The team from the University of Roehampton focused on two particular rules known to apply across the board of human languages.


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