Gestural Communication in Captive Gibbons: A Preliminary Investigation

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Summer 2006

Project Description/Abstract

Language is central to being human, making its origins and evolution a topic of intense interest to many disciplines. Behaviors similar to language have been found in the communication systems of several nonhuman primates, notably the great apes. However, due to limitations of their vocal tracts, some of their greatest language-like abilities have been found in their use of gestures for communication. Monkeys lack these abilities that are found in the great apes. This project will examine the gestural communication of a group of captive gibbons, known as lesser apes. Little research exists on gibbon gestures, leaving open questions as to what extent they exhibit these more advanced abilities. This research will provide the foundation for what I hope will become a long-term observational project, with the potential to produce significant new understandings of gibbon behavior, further understanding of the antecedents of language, and incorporate students into on-going research.

This document is currently not available here.