Embodied Animal Mind and Hand-Signing Chimpanzees

The Pluralist 6 (3):25-33 (2011)
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Chimpanzee language studies have generated much heated controversy, as Roger Fouts can attest from firsthand experience. Perhaps this is because language is usually considered to be what truly distinguishes humans from apes. If chimps can indeed be taught the rudiments of language, then the difference between them and us is not as great as we might have thought. It is a matter of degree rather than kind, a continuity, and our species is not so special after all. The advantage of this continuity thesis, as Fouts has emphasized, is that it conforms to the general tenets of evolutionary theory, and fits well with the evidence from paleontology and genetics that suggests that apes and humans are close cousins. It also ..

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Kelvin J. Booth
Thompson Rivers University


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