Human Evolution

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 217–227

Imaginary Play in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

  • M. L. A. Jensvold
  • R. S. Fouts

DOI: 10.1007/BF02436716

Cite this article as:
Jensvold, M.L.A. & Fouts, R.S. Hum. Evol. (1993) 8: 217. doi:10.1007/BF02436716


Imaginary Play was studied in a group of five signing chimpanzees and it was found that chimpanzees engage in imaginary play similar to that found in human children. Fifteen hours of remote videotapes were analyzed for instances of imaginary play. Behaviors were defined as imaginary play by meeting a predetermined criteria which allowed them to be classified into one of six different categories of imaginary play. Six instances of imaginary play were found and these were classified into the two categories of Animation and Substitution. Observations of imaginary play in other research with chimpanzees were discussed.

Key words

Imaginary play play Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes American Sign Language Primate behavior 

Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. L. A. Jensvold
    • 1
  • R. S. Fouts
    • 1
  1. 1.Chimpanzee & Human Communication Institute Central Washington UniversityEllensburgUSA