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Social and ecological complexity is associated with gestural repertoire size of wild chimpanzees.

Roberts, SGB and Roberts, AI (2020) Social and ecological complexity is associated with gestural repertoire size of wild chimpanzees. Integrative Zoology, 15 (4). pp. 276-292. ISSN 1749-4869

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Increasing our understanding of primate gestural communication can provide new insights into language evolution. A key question in primate communication is the association between the social relationships of primates and their repertoire of gestures. Such analyses can reveal how primates use their repertoire of gestural communication to maintain their networks of family and friends, much as humans use language to maintain their social networks. In this study we examined the association between the repertoire of gestures (overall, manual and bodily gestures, gestures of different modalities) and social bonds (presence of reciprocated grooming), coordinated behaviours (travel, resting, co-feeding), and the complexity of ecology (e.g. noise, illumination) and sociality (party size, audience), in wild East African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). A larger repertoire size of manual, visual gestures was associated with the presence of a relationship based on reciprocated grooming and increases in social complexity. A smaller repertoire of manual tactile gestures occurred when relationship was based on reciprocated grooming. A smaller repertoire of bodily gestures occurred between partners who jointly travelled for longer. Whereas gesture repertoire size was associated with social complexity, complex ecology also influenced repertoire size. The evolution of a large repertoire of manual, visual gestures may have been a key factor that enabled for larger social groups to emerge during evolution. Thus, the evolution of the larger brains in hominins may have co-occurred with an increase in the cognitive complexity underpinning gestural communication and this in turn may have enabled hominins to live in more complex social groups. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0608 Zoology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Wiley
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2020 10:19
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 07:36
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/1749-4877.12423
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12574
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