Chimpanzee grunts mean more than you think

For the first time ever, animals have been observed changing their call for a particular object — something comparable in human language to a noun. The new research overturns the previous understanding of these vocalizations as essentially fixed.

“As far as we know, this is the first evidence we’ve seen of a referential call being modified,” says Simon Townsend, lead author of the paper published in the journal Current Biology and head of the University of Zurich’s animal communication group. “This suggests that the way meaning is assigned in human language and in animals might be more similar than previously thought.”

The chimpanzees’ vocalizations expressed their feelings on apples

Scientists observed the change during the…

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