miércoles, 11 de agosto de 2010
Orangutans use mime to make themselves understood
Orangutans use mime to help make themselves understood, according to video recordings of the apes in the wild.
Footage of rehabilitated orangutans released into a Borneo forest show the apes mimicking actions such as cracking open termite mounds, washing themselves and using a leaf to clean a wounded foot.In some recordings, orangutans used gestures to distract or mislead others. One animal indicated to researchers that it wanted a haircut, as a ruse to divert their attention while it stole something, according to the study.
Psychologist Anne Russon and Kristin Andrews, a philosopher at York University in Toronto, analysed 20 years of video footage of orangutans that had once been in captivity, but were released into the wild in Indonesian Borneo.
The study, published in the Biology Letters journal, suggests miming is rare in wild orangutans, but is used when other forms of communication fail.
Andrews said: "Great apes' ability to engage in rudimentary narrative communication suggests to us that, like humans, they are able to make sense of their world by telling stories, and to relay their thoughts about the world to others.
The researchers write: "These orangutan and other great ape pantomime cases indicate that pantomime serves multiple purposes and supports important communicative complexities in living great apes. For great apes, like humans, pantomime is a medium, not a message."