Human Evolution

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

Symbolic communication in wild chimpanzees?

  • C. Boesch


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.


Deaf Child Wild Chimpanzee Travel Direction High Predation Pressure Captive Chimpanzee 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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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

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