FEB 27, 2018 04:08 PM PST

Gestures Made By Bonobos and Chimps Share Similar Meanings

While humans communicate with one another using spoken words, many animals signal to one another with physical gestures. Bonobos and chimpanzees are two examples of the latter, and while they’re entirely different primate species, it turns out that they share similar gestures.

Bonobos and chimpanzees apparently use gestures with similar meanings, despite being entirely different primate species.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Researchers from the Universities of St Andrews, York, and Kyoto stumbled upon these findings after studying 33 different gestures made by bonobos. During their analysis, the researchers compared these gestures and their meanings to those produced by chimpanzees, and they found several consistencies. The results are now published in the journal PLOS Biology.

In one example, the researchers took note as a bonobo reached its arm out to another. The one that was getting signaled then jumped on the back of the gesture-maker, and both appeared satisfied with the result. That said, the researchers can conclude that the gesture means “climb on me.” Notably, that’s the same thing chimpanzees do.

“The overlap in gesture meanings between bonobos and chimpanzees is quite substantial and may indicate that the gestures are biologically inherited,” said study lead author Dr. Kirsty Graham from the University of York’s Department of Psychology.

Related: Are chimpanzees really as strong as they're made out to be?

While interesting, no one should too be surprised to hear of said similarities. Bonobos and chimpanzees share common ancestry, and the researchers doubt it’s merely a coincidence. Instead, the researchers suggest that it could have something to do with shared genetics between the two closely-related primate species.

The study answers a lot of questions concerning primate communication, but it also raises several others that the researchers hope to answer in upcoming studies.

“In the future, we hope to learn more about how gestures develop through the apes’ lifetimes,” Graham continued. “We are also starting to examine whether humans share any of these great ape gestures and understand the gesture meanings.”

It should be interesting to see if any other primate species’ gestures overlap with bonobos’ and chimpanzees.’ Furthermore, it could also be interesting to see how they compare to human-made gestures and whether we communicate in the same ways or not.

Source: University of York

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 21, 2019
Plants & Animals
AUG 21, 2019
Here's Why American Cities Are Chock-Full of Pigeons
Many of America’s major cities, such as Boston and New York City, are chock-full of wild pigeons. Some people enjoy the birds’ company, while o...
AUG 21, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
AUG 21, 2019
Plant Mitochondrial DNA is Successfully Edited
Agriculture has valued the production of a handful of staple foods, and genetic diversity among our crops has declined, weakening food security....
AUG 21, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
AUG 21, 2019
The Mechanisms Underlying Rapid Sex Change in Fish are Revealed
For most animals, the sex is established early on in development and they stay that way throughout the life of the organism....
AUG 21, 2019
Health & Medicine
AUG 21, 2019
10-minutes of Animal Interaction Reduces Students' Cortisol Levels
Unsurprisingly, college and its encompassing responsibilities cause high-stress levels in students. One way that nearly 1,000 U.S. college campuses try to...
AUG 21, 2019
Health & Medicine
AUG 21, 2019
The Science Behind Good Cannabis
The two main chemical components of the cannabis plant are Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive com...
AUG 21, 2019
Health & Medicine
AUG 21, 2019
Does Cuttlefish Ink Hold a Cure for Cancer?
Using nanoparticles to deliver cancer-fighting compounds directly into tumors has been a hot research topic for the past few years. According to Lisa Ayga...
Loading Comments...