Chimpanzee facial gestures and the implications for the evolution of language.

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Date: Sept. 22, 2021
From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 10,034 words
Lexile Measure: 1390L

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Abstract :

Great ape manual gestures are described as communicative, flexible, intentional, and goal-oriented. These gestures are thought to be an evolutionary pre-cursor to human language. Conversely, facial expressions are thought to be inflexible, automatic, and derived from emotion. However, great apes can make a wide range of movements with their faces, and they may possess the control needed to gesture with their faces as well as their hands. We examined whether chimpanzee facial expressions possess the four important gesture properties and how they compare to manual gestures. To do this, we quantified variables that have been previously described through largely qualitative means. Chimpanzee facial expressions met all four gesture criteria and performed remarkably similar to manual gestures. Facial gestures have implications for the evolution of language. If other mammals also show facial gestures, then the gestural origins of language may be much older than the human/great ape lineage.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A676388306