Chimpanzees Can Learn Foreign Dialects


PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, zookeepers at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland started an experiment, placing Dutch and Scottish chimpanzees together. Chimps from different places use different pitched grunts to communicate about the same object. For example, the Dutch chimpanzees use high-pitched grunts for apples while the Scottish chimps use low-pitched grunts. Over time, the Dutch chimpanzees began making grunts similar to those the Scottish chimpanzees used, proving that chimpanzees can learn foreign dialects from each other, which scientists had believed was unique to humans.

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