Chimpanzee and human Language

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Chimpanzee and human Language

Chimpanzee and human Language

            Chimpanzee remains the animals which have the closest relationship with Human beings. Many scholars have come up with different theories explaining the relationship between human beings and the Chimpanzee. One of the commonly known approaches is the evolution theory developed by Charles Darwin (Rumbaugh, 2014). The theory suggested that initially, the human beings were apes but they evolved to become the modern man. Various scientific researchers have discovered that the Chimpanzee was the first non-human to learn and use human language (Rumbaugh, 2014). The Chimpanzee uses human language to communicate to one another and human beings. It has been proven that, through learning the Chimps have the ability to communicate using signs. The essay discusses how the Chimpanzee has learnt to use human language to communicate with each other and to human beings.

            In the past, many believed that the apes could not speak. Many believed that the throat and the tongues were different from that of a human; therefore they could not use speech to communicate. However, such notions were invalidated in the early 1960s when different species of the chimpanzee were trained to use the sign language. Further, the Chimps were taught to use keyboards which had symbols that represented words. Scientists have discovered that human beings share 98.4 percent of the DNA (Rumbaugh, 2014). Therefore, it is possible for the two to share the language. The apes use tools and language to pass their culture from one generation to the other. Sign and keyboards languages are used because the primates have not control over their tongue and jaws. Human and Chimpanzee vocals are not sufficiently close. However, the research show primates can use human language have faced criticism because the apes have no ability to from syntax to develop a sign.

            In an experiment conducted by Allen Gardener, it revealed that the Chimpanzee is capable of learning new words through imitation. After imitating a certain word for some time, the ape was able to master different words. In the research, Gardener found that as the Chimpanzee entered the bathroom. It made the signs of a toothbrush implying that it had memorized that brushing takes place in the bathroom (Lieberman, Crelin & Klatt, 2012). Naturally, Chimpanzee imitates various activities which make it easy to teach them activities that human beings do.

            Another way that chimpanzee uses to communicate is through babbling. The Chimps use the express desires which are usually not taught. For example, they use begging gesture whenever they want something from human beings. Just as infants do, they use their hand to express word such as “give me” and “goodbye” (Lieberman, Crelin & Klatt, 2012). Scientist argues that Chimpanzee fails to efficiently communicate with the human beings because their brain is not well developed like that of human beings. Their memory has no large capacity to remember many things which are communicated using audio.

            In conclusion, Chimpanzee remains the non-human being which is known for learning and using human language. Scientists reveal that human beings and chimps share more than 98.2 percent of their DNA. The closeness of the DNA makes the two to share even the language. Chimpanzees are omnivores just like the human beings. Most of the activities that human being does the chimpanzee can do them comfortably. However, there has been criticism regarding the ability of the chimps to learn and use human language because their brain is not developed as that of the human beings.


Lieberman, P., Crelin, E. S., & Klatt, D. H. (2012). Phonetic ability and related anatomy of the newborn and adult human, Neanderthal man, and the chimpanzee. American Anthropologist74(3), 287-307.

Rumbaugh, D. M. (Ed.). (2014). Language learning by a chimpanzee: The Lana project. Academic Press.

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