Monkey See, Monkey Do

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The link between human and animal behaviors has been studied for centuries on end. Many species of animals react and behave in the same manor as most humans do, but how they comprehend and communicate back is where they differ. The closest related animal exhibiting human behavioral characteristics is that of the chimpanzee. Chimpanzees are capable of learning aspects of the human language. The way in which they comprehend these chimp.jpgactions and meanings are through observational techniques rather than through direct reinforcement. Their communication is not even close to being as complex as humans' but they do often request for simple things, such as food and other interactive activities. Chimps can even learn how to recreate things faster than that of a young human child. The extent to which they communicate stretches beyond these requests and ventures into the realm of actually engaging in social interactions with humans. The issue major issue chimpanzees face in learning the English language is that of syntax, or basically putting words in the correct order. The fact that animals can establish complex relationships with people using a common language is incredible. With further research and trials, we will be able to see just how far chimpanzees learning capabilities can go, they may even be able to have intricate conversations one day. Here is a video that touches on chimpanzees' learning communication skills.

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Has there been any success in teaching chimpanzees more intricate forms of language (sign or keyboards)? Can other animals engage in social interactions with humans? For example, can a dog make requests?

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This page contains a single entry by riesn021 published on March 25, 2012 5:00 PM.

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