The development of gestural communication in great apes
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Great apes deploy gestural signals in goal-directed and flexible ways across a wide range of social contexts. Despite growing evidence for profound effects of developmental experience on social cognition, socio-ecological factors shaping gesture use are still poorly understood, particularly in apes living in their natural environment. After discussing current ambiguities in terminology and methods, we review recent work implementing a longitudinal and/or cross-sectional approach in great ape gesture acquisition and development. To understand whether and to what extent the socio-ecological environment influences gestural communication, it is essential to distinguish between the gesture repertoire and gesture usage, which represent different levels of analysis. While the majority of the apes’ gestural repertoire seems to be innate, accumulating evidence shows that the communicative usage of these signals is substantially affected by interactional experiences throughout ontogeny.
Hobaiter , C & Frohlich , M 2018 , ' The development of gestural communication in great apes ' , Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology , vol. 72 , no. 12 , 194 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-018-2619-y
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created accepted version manuscript following peer review and as such may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-018-2619-y
DescriptionM.F. was funded by the Forschungskredit of the University of Zurich, grant no. FK-17-106.
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