Chimpanzee sign language similar to human speech
Chimpanzees share about 98.7% DNA with humans something that creates a lot of relatedness but that’s not all, chimpanzee sign language too mimics human speech. On a study of wild chimps living in Uganda’s Budongo forest, gestures used by chimpanzees to communicate with each other follow some of the same rules intrinsic to human language. Just like other apes, chimpanzees lack the ability to speak but make use of meaningful gestures that we refer to as chimpanzee sign language just like the deaf people do. Budongo Forest is part of the Murchison conservation area where Murchison Falls National Park-Uganda’s largest park is also found. Sitting on top of the Albertine rift, the forest covers a surface area of 825 km² with 430km2 as continuous forest situated in Masindi district.
In the world, Uganda has the top three chimpanzee trekking locations and Budongo forest comes second with about 600 chimpanzees and about 80 habituated for tourism after Kibale Forest National Park that has about 1,400 chimpanzees. This is one of the reasons as to why Uganda wildlife safaris are becoming popular in the content with chimpanzee trekking as one of the major activities.
In the study, Raphaela Heesen, at the University of Roehampton in the UK, and colleagues analyzed video recordings of more than 2000 uses of 58 different types of “play” gestures, and found that more frequently used gestures were shorter in duration, and that longer signing sequences were made up of shorter, syllable-like gestures. These two patterns are known to apply to all human languages.
Heesen stated that
“Primate gestural communication is, of course, very different to human language, but our results show that these two systems are underpinned by the same mathematical principles,”
In the case of spoken language, this translates to longer words consisting of shorter syllables.
Just like toddlers use stamping, pointing and clapping to communicate, chimps also communicate with noises, body postures and facial expressions.
On a wildlife safari in Uganda never miss out on chimpanzee trekking to either Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo Forest National Park or in Kyambura Gorge of Queen Elizabeth National Park. You can also opt to tailor your safari with a Uganda gorilla trekking safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.