Do apes use communication to manage their social relationships?
I have spent 12 months filming the gestures and behaviours of bonobos (i.e. pygmy chimpanzees) at the Milwaukee County Zoo (USA). Bonobos have a lot in common with us humans including the desire to socialize with their friends and to communicate with them frequently. My research focuses on whether bonobos vary their use of gestures depending on whom they’re ‘talking’ to and what’s happening around them. By following the daily lives of captive bonobos we can better understand how individuals adjust their behaviors and communicative efforts when navigating through a complex social environment.
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