Human Evolution

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 81–89 | Cite as

Symbolic communication in wild chimpanzees?

  • C. Boesch
Article

Abstract

The language abilities of captive chimpanzees give rise to the question of the existence and use of similar capabilities in wild chimpanzees. In Taï forest, wild chimpanzees seem to use drumming on buttressed trees to convey information an changes of travel direction, resting periods or both information combined. This communication system is iconic and relies on some arbitrariness. Emergence of symbol-like communication in wild chimpanzees seems mainly dependent on a low visibility environment, a high predation pressure and a large group of males.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bates E., Benigni L., Bretherton I., Camaioni L. &Volterra V., 1979.The Emergence of Symbols. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  2. Birkerton D., 1987.Book review. Int. J. Primat., 8 (3): 293–298.Google Scholar
  3. Boesch C. (In Press).The effects of Leopard predation on grouping patterns in forest chimpanzees. Behaviour.Google Scholar
  4. Boesch C. &Boesch H., 1981.Sex differences in the use of natural hammers by wild chimpanzees: a preliminary report. J. Hum. Evol., 10: 585–593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boesch C. &Boesch H., 1983.Optimization of nut-cracking with natural hammers by wild chimpanzees. Behaviour, 83: 256–286.Google Scholar
  6. Boesch C. &Boesch H., 1984.Mental map in wild chimpanzees: an analysis of hammer transports for nut cracking. Primates, 25: 160–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boesch C. &Boesch H., 1984.Hunting behavior of wild chimpanzees in the Taï National Park. Am. J. Phys. Anthrop. 78: 547–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davenport R.K., 1979.Some behavioural disturbances of great apes in captivity. In: D.A. Hamburg and E.R. McCown, Eds. The Great Apes, pp. 341–357. Menlo Park: Benjamin?Cummings.Google Scholar
  9. Davidson I. &Noble W., 1979.The archeology of perception: Traces of depiction and language. Curr. Anthrop. 30: 125–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fouts R.S., 1975.Communication with chimpanzees. In: G. Kurth and I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Eds. Hominisation and Behaviour, pp. 137–158. Stuttgart: Gustav Fisher Verlag.Google Scholar
  11. Fouts R.S., 1983.Chimpanzees language and elephant tails: a theoretical synthesis. In: J. de Luce and H.T. Wilder, Eds. Language in Primates; Perspectives an Implications, pp. 63–75. New York: Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
  12. Fouts R.S., Hirsch A.D. &Fouts D.H., 1982.Cultural transmission of human language in a chimpanzee mother-infant relationship. In: H.E. Fitzgerald, J.A. Mullins and P. Gage, Eds. Psychobiological Perspectives, pp. 159–193. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  13. Gardner B.t. &Gardner R.A., 1971.Two-way communication with an infant chimpanzee. In: A.M. Schrier and F. Stollnitz, Eds. Behavior of Nonhuman Primates, pp. 117–183. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  14. Goldin-Meadow S. &Morford M., 1985.Gesture in early child language: Studies of deaf and hearing children Merrill-Palmer.Quartely; 31(2): 145–176.Google Scholar
  15. Goodall J., 1968.Behaviour of free-living chimpanzees in Gombe Stream area. Anim. Behav. Monog., 1: 163–311.Google Scholar
  16. Goodall J., 1986.The Chimpanzees of Gombe. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Isaac G., 1978.The food sharing behavior of protohuman hominids. Sci. Am., 238: 90–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johanson D. &Edey M., 1981.Lucy: The Beginning of Humnkind. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  19. Kummer H., 1971.Primate Societies: Group Techniques of Ecological Adaptation. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  20. Leakey R., 1981.The Making of Mankind. London: Michael Joseph.Google Scholar
  21. Luce J. de &Wilder H.T., 1963.Introduction. In: J. de Luce and H.T. Wilder, Eds. Language in Primates: Perspectives and Implications, pp. 1–17. New York: Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
  22. Marler P., 1976.Social organization, communication and graded signals: the chimpanzee and the gorilla. In: P.P. Bateson and R.A. Hinde, Eds. Growing Points in Ethology, pp. 239–280. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Mason W.A., 1978.Social experience and primate development. In: G.M. Burghardt and M. Bekoff. Eds) The Development of Behavior: Comparative and Evolutionary Aspects, pp. 233–251. New York: Garland Press.Google Scholar
  24. Myers N., 1976.The leopard Panthera pardus in Africa. Morges: IUCN Monograph, 5.Google Scholar
  25. Nishida T., 1979.The social structure of chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains. In: D.A. Hamburg and E.R. McCown, Eds. The great Apes, pp. 73–122. Menlo Park: Benjamin/Cummings.Google Scholar
  26. Piaget J., 1945.La Formation du Symbole chez l'Enfant. Neuchâtel: Delachaux et Niestlé.Google Scholar
  27. Parker S.T., 1987.The origins of symbolic communication: an evolutionary cost/benefit model. In: J. Montangero, A. Tryphon and S. Dionnet, Eds. Symbolism and Knowledge, pp. 13–34. Geneva: Fondation Archives Jean Piaget.Google Scholar
  28. Premack D. &Premack A.J., 1983.The Mind of an Ape. New York: Norton and Company.Google Scholar
  29. Ristau C.A. &Robbins D., 1982.Language in Great Apes: a critical review. In: J. Rosenblatt, R. Hinde, C. Beer, and M.C. Busnel, Eds. Advances in the Study of Behavior; pp. 141–255. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  30. Savage-Rumbaugh E.S. & Rumbaugh D.M. (in press).The invention of Language. Paper present at the Wenner-Green symposium on «Tools, Language and Intelligence: Evolutionary Implications».Google Scholar
  31. Savage-Rumbaugh E.S., Rumbaugh D.M. &Boysen S., 1978.Linguistically mediated tool use and exchange by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Beh. Brain Sci., 201: 641–644.Google Scholar
  32. Savage-Rumbaugh E.S., Rumbaugh D.M. &Boysen S., 1980.Do apes use language? Am. Scientist, 68: 49–62.Google Scholar
  33. Savage-Rumbaugh E.S., Rumbaugh D.M. &Boysen S., 1985.The capacity of animals to acquire language: do species differences have anything to say to us? Philosophical Transcriptions of the Royal Society of London, 308: 177–185.Google Scholar
  34. Teleki G., 1987.Current threats to the survival of the once «common» chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) of equatorial Africa. Special Report. Washington: Committee for Conservation and CAre of Chimpanzees.Google Scholar
  35. Terrace H.S., 1983.Apes who «talk»: Language or projection of language by their teachers? In: J. de Luce and H.T. Wilder, Eds. Language in Primates: Perspectives and Implications, pp. 19–42. New York: Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
  36. Volterra V., 1987.From single communicative signal to linguistic combinations in bearing and deaf children. In: j. Montagero, A. Tryphon and S. Dionnet, Eds. Symbolism and Knowledge, pp. 115–132. Geneva: Fondation Archives Jean Piaget.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Editrice Il Sedicesimo 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Boesch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ethology and Wildlife ResearchUniversity of Zürich and Centre Suisse de Recherches ScientifiquesAbidjan

Personalised recommendations