Bonobo gestures, meanings, and context

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although you might not know what a “gesture” is (yet), most people reading this book probably have some experience with gestures. Waving, bowing, clapping, nodding, pantomiming, and pointing, are just some of the many gestures that you may have encountered. As humans, we use many conventionalized gestures that we learn throughout our lives and regularly produce gestures alongside language (Goldin-Meadow 2005). One way of examining the evolution of human gesture, and potentially human language, is to study gestural communication in other species. Researchers in great ape gestural communication tend to define a gesture as an intentional, mechanically ineffective movement of the limbs, head, or body that is used to communicate (Townsend et al. 2016). All great apes use gestures to communicate (Call and Tomasello 2007), and there is growing evidence of gestural communication across the primate taxa (Macaca mulatta, M. nemestrina, M. arctoides, Maestripieri 2005; Macaca radiata, Gupta and Sinha 2016; Macaca Sylvanus, Hesler and Fischer 2007; Papio anubis, Bourjade et al. 2014).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBonobos and people at Wamba
Subtitle of host publication50 years of research
EditorsTakeshi Furuichi, Gen'ichi Idani, Daiji Kimura, Hiroshi Ihobe, Chie Hashimoto
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9789819947881
ISBN (Print)9789819947874, 9789819947904
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2024


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