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The temporal cortex is also much larger than predicted for an ape of our size, which might affect our language ability as this part of the brain contains Broca’s area, implicated in language use.
d) From viewing chimps in the wild (The New Chimpanzees), can they be said to have a language? Include Uhlenbroek’s description of pant hoots, the chimp patrol of their territory, their displays in dominance of behaviour, and grooming and begging behaviour.
These elements do seem to represent a kind of communication between chimps, so yes, it could be seen as a language by some, although not perhaps as advanced as human language. The differences in behaviours between different groups have been described as ‘cultural differences’.
Koko had extensive exposure to sign language and did seem to pick up some elements of language, although the grammar was not perfect. Many of the utterances could just be imitation or nonsense. Michael learned much less than Koko because he was only alive for a short while, but perhaps the transmission of the signs could be seen as language transmission. Ndume does not currently use sign language.
Although the video describes Koko has having a lot of knowledge and the gorilla does seem to know a lot of signs, it is not completely clear whether this is imitation or language and therefore is extremely difficult to describe.
It does not seem to be a very strong case, although Koko does show extensive evidence of learning. Merely learning a lot of different signs or letters does not create language, although it is interesting that some of these signs were transmitted to another gorilla. However, it is also possible that sign language may not be the right medium for language and gorillas may have their own complex language structure in a form that humans cannot understand.
Some people think that language is necessary for a culture, but there are many different aspects of culture (such as
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