Developmental perspectives on primate gesture: 100 years in the making

Erica A. Cartmill*, Catherine Hobaiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


This paper is an introduction to the special issue entitled Evolving the study of gesture: evaluating and unifying theories of gesture acquisition in great apes. The gestures of great apes have been recorded in scientific literature for over 100 years, but the ways in which apes acquire their gestures remains a highly debated topic. Through this historical framework, we summarize and contextualize contemporary research on the development of ape gesture. We describe the papers presented in this special issue, grouping them into three themes: assessing theories, methodological innovation, and new empirical approaches. Each of the papers is a significant contribution to the literature on ape gesture, but the collection of work together represents a unique collaboration across labs, theories, and studied species. By considering the papers side-by-side, we hope that readers will see the authors as engaging in a true dialogue, one which will help the field of primate gesture research make significant advances in the years to come.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-459
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Cognition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


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