How can apes give us clues to the origins of human language?

May 05, 2013

By Ofer Tirosh


Animals Have Their Own Languages

No, horses don’t actually talk like Mr. Ed, but animals do have their own languages.  New research indicates that hand and limb gestures used by apes could give us clues to the origins of human language.  

Many animals simply communicate with each other via facial expressions, simple sounds and calls.  Dolphins actually have unique sounds for their partners, almost akin to what names are in the human language.  Researchers in the United States and Great Britain have found that dolphins are able to comprehend both simple and complex sentences, including nouns and verbs.  

This new research excites many linguists who believe this is just the beginning of understanding how human language originated.  The new research suggests that hand gestures used by primates might give more clues about the origin of language.  

The full story about the research conducted on animal language and the origins of human language can be found online at 



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