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 22, 2018
Plants & Animals
AUG 22, 2018
Some Macaws Blush In Response to Affection, Others Ruffle Their Feathers
Parrots are some of the most popular pets for bird lovers, and while their intelligence is widely-recognized, that hasn’t stopped acclaimed researche...
SEP 02, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 02, 2018
Insights From the Opium Poppy Genome
By sequencing the opium poppy's DNA, scientists have revealed important details about how it makes its medicine....
SEP 03, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 03, 2018
38,000 Pigs Culled in China Amid Severe Swine Fever Outbreak
In response to a severe African swine fever outbreak in China, the country’s agriculture ministry elected to cull more than 38,000 pigs spanning five...
SEP 26, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 26, 2018
Climate Change Isn't the Leading Cause of Global Amphibian Decline; Humans Are
Around the globe, amphibians of all types are experiencing sharp population declines. Climate change has long been the primary rationalization for this unf...
SEP 28, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 28, 2018
How Genes Changed in Domesticated Foxes
Over fifty years ago, scientists in Russia began to selectively breed silver foxes to replicate domestication....
OCT 22, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 22, 2018
Giant Pandas Discern Potential Mates From Their Calls, But Bamboo Forests Don't Help
Many of the world’s wild animals use mating calls to announce their readiness to mate and to find other specimens to hook up with, but curious resear...
Loading Comments...