New study reveals the communications used by apes are remarkably similar to those used by young humans.
According to Livemint, apets have their own language. A team of researchers have been studying the behavior of wild bonobos, and have discovered that they communicate using sounds called “peeps,” which they use in a wide variety of situations. These peeps are very short, high pitched noises, made with a closed mouth.
Bonobos have a wide range of emotional states, just like humans, and they are capable of communicating these emotions using a series of vocalizations. Researchers have observed these peeps during feeding, travel, grooming, and rest, and they’ve been seen to demonstrate aggression, alarm, and other emotions.
Zanna Clay, from the University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology, is the lead author of this study. She stated that “When I studied the bonobos in their native setting in Congo, I was struck by how frequent their peeps were, and how many different contexts they produce them in. . . . It became apparent that because we couldn’t always differentiate between peeps, we needed to understand the context to get to the root of their communication,”
Although an acoustic analysis of the peep calls revealed that they did not vary acoustically between neutral and positive contexts, the researchers observed that the peeps could represent an important evolutionary transition from “functionally fixed animal vocalizations” towards human vocalizations. According to these researchers, many of the fundamental aspects of human language have deep roots in these primate communications.