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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Video: Apes Play Charades
11 August 2010 9:30 am
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Credit: Anne Russon
Who says orangutans can't talk with their hands? By analyzing 20 years of video footage culled from studies in Indonesia, researchers have found that forest-dwelling orangutans can act out words or phrases by gesturing, just like humans do. An orangutan will offer a leaf and mimic wiping something, for example, to get his partner to wipe his head clean with that leaf. And, as seen in this video, orangutans will excitedly swing a stick up and down on top of a coconut to say to a researcher, "Hey human, use your machete to cut up my dinner." The apes even pantomime to trick others: By gesturing that they're having a hard time getting into a termite mound for a snack, an orangutan can get some easy help, the team reports online today in Biology Letters. Scientists already knew that orangutans pantomime in captivity, but showing that they also do it in the wild tells us that they developed this form of communication on their own, and not just by imitating humans.
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