Re: monkey talk

Adrian Teo (
Thu, 26 Feb 1998 07:50:26 -0800

Glenn Morton wrote:
> I just got this from a private anthropology e-mail news that I am on. It
> should elicit some interesting thoughts. As a rule I am not in favor of
> animal speech (who needs the competition) but since we must deal with the
> world as it is and not as we want it to be, here is something quite
> fascinating (to me):
> E-VOLUTION, 2:2, Feb. 1998
[stuff deleted]
> Savage- Rumbaugh's discovery, and recent work done at Columbia University
> concerning the similarities in the planum temporale between chimpanzees and
> humans, runs contrary to the long held position of many researchers that
> great apes lack the brain structures for symbolic language and complex
> communication. "The evidence is there. We have only to look at it," Savage
> -Rumbaugh told those at the AAAS meeting.

While it may be true that nonhuman primates do have the ability for
rather sophisticated communication, their language structure has never
be demonstrated to even come close to the complexity of human language.
Human language universally involves complex rules which even those
celebrated apes (Nim Chimpsky, Washoe, Koko, Sarah etc.) trained to sign
were never able to reproduce.

Guess that means we don't have to worry about them animals talking
behind our backs about us.