Where have all the (ape) gestures gone?
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Comparative analysis of the gestural communication of our nearest animal relatives, the great apes, implies that humans should have the biological potential to produce and understand 60–70 gestures, by virtue of shared common descent. These gestures are used intentionally in apes to convey separate requests, rather than as referential items in syntactically structured signals. At present, no such legacy of shared gesture has been described in humans. We suggest that the fate of “ape gestures” in modern human communication is relevant to the debate regarding the evolution of language through a possible intermediate stage of gestural protolanguage.
Byrne , R W & Cochet , H 2017 , ' Where have all the (ape) gestures gone? ' Psychonomic Bulletin & Review , vol 24 , no. 1 , pp. 68-71 . DOI: 10.3758/s13423-016-1071-0
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2016. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13423-016-1071-0
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