Humans are naturally able to understand many of the signs – or gestures – that wild chimpanzees and bonobos use to communicate with one another, new research suggests.
Scientists from the University of St Andrews, who study communication in chimps and bonobos, tested people’s ability to translate the animals gestures in a video playback experiment.
They say the findings suggest that the last common ancestor we shared with chimpanzees also used signals and gestures. And that these provided an origin for our own language.
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