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Right-Hand Chimp

Research on chimpanzees suggests that human language has its roots in the gestural hand communications of our primate ancestors.

“Most of the linguistic functions in humans are controlled by the left cerebral hemisphere. A study of captive chimpanzees at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (Atlanta, Georgia), reported in the January 2010 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex, suggests that this ‘hemispheric lateralization’ for language may have its evolutionary roots in the gestural communication of our common ancestors. A large majority of the chimpanzees in the study showed a significant bias towards right-handed gestures when communicating, which may reflect a similar dominance of the left hemisphere for communication in chimpanzees as that seen for language functions in humans,” reports Science Daily. Researchers studied hand-use in 70 chimps over 10 months and recorded a series of communication gestures – to both other chimps and humans.


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