Apes, toddler show that language may have evolved from gestures

Los Angeles Times:

What do a chimpanzee, a bonobo and a toddler all have in common? They all use gestures to communicate.

By studying hours of video of a female chimp named Panpanzee, a female bonobo named Panbanisha and a little girl with the initials GN, a team of psychologists hope to gain some insight into how spoken language evolved in humans.

Skeletons can be fossilized, but language cannot, the researchers noted in a study published this week in Frontiers in Psychology. To figure out how it came to be, they looked for similarities between the three closely related species to infer ways that our common ancestor would have communicated more than 5 million years ago.

“This is one line of evidence for the gestural foundation of human language evolution,” the wrote.

Read the whole story: Los Angeles Times

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