Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Domestication of LanguageCultural Evolution and the Uniqueness of the Human Animal$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Daniel Cloud

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167925

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167925.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

The Strange Case of the Chimpanzee

The Strange Case of the Chimpanzee

(p.113) 5 The Strange Case of the Chimpanzee
The Domestication of Language

Daniel Cloud

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the chimpanzee's two distinct systems of communication: vocal signals and their use of gestures, like holding up a cupped hand to beg or raising one arm to initiate play. The existence of two systems with very similar functions, two distinct systems of Skyrmsian signals, one innate and the other learned, might be thought of as creating a Darwinian redundancy that would permit the function of one of the two to diverge in an unexpected direction. The second system of signals seems like exactly the sort of thing that evolution might easily have grabbed hold of, in a descendant of the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees, and turned into something new, into a more human kind of language. If that's what happened, then understanding the two end points of the process is the best way of understanding the transition, and that makes understanding what chimpanzees do with their gestures rather urgent.

Keywords:   chimpanzees, human language, Brian Skyrms, communication, gestures, vocal signals, signalling

Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .