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Humans Can Understand Signals Used by Apes

By: Ethan & Connie Cao

Apes have been part of our timeline for a long time. These creatures are so similar to us that we have been studying them for centuries, to learn more about both them and ourselves. We have gained a deeper understanding of their behavior, communication, and social structures. Apes share many similarities with humans, including the ability to use tools, exhibit empathy, and form complex relationships. We could even communicate with them.

Chimpanzees and bonobos are the two kinds of apes that are closest to humans. They use about 80 different gestures that make us something like a language. For example, a gesture the researchers call “big loud scratch” means “help pick insects off of me”. Some researchers and scientists created a game that makes people that are unfamiliar with apes try to guess what they are saying or act out.

Dr. Graham says these gestures are used by all kinds of great apes “If humans understand them,” she told CNN, “Then it seems like a great ape gesture ability that would have been used by our last common ancestors.” It is like talking to a newborn baby who doesn’t understand English yet can still talk to you. This sort of communication is insane! Apes and other monkeys can point, dance, and even clap. Ooh, Ooh, Aah Aah! This is the sound that apes make to communicate with each other. It is like us speaking English. Did you know that humans are great apes? Also, Chimpanzees are the most social of all apes and live in communities with 15 to 120 individuals.

Now that we know that we can talk to apes, perhaps it's time to start decoding the languages of other animals.

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