Referential gestural communication in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

  • Pika S
  • Mitani J
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Humans commonly use referential gestures, for example pointing, which direct the attention of recipients to particular aspects of the environment [1]. The use of these gestures has been linked with cognitive capacities such as mental state attribution 2 and 3 because the recipient must infer the signaler's meaning. In our closest living relatives, the non-human primates, referential gestures have been reported only in captive chimpanzees interacting with their human experimenters [4] and human-raised or language-trained apes (5, 6 and 7; but see also [8]). Here we provide the first evidence for the widespread use of a referential gesture by wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes).




Pika, S., & Mitani, J. (2006). Referential gestural communication in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Current Biology, 16(6), R191–R192.

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