Humans can understand the common sign language methods of other apes, scientists have just discovered – which means we could all have a Dr Jane Goodall in us after all.

Researchers from the University of St Andrews have found that people can quite easily understand the meaning of signals that monkeys like wild chimpanzees and bonobos use to communicate with each other.

The scientists’ video study asked volunteers to interpret the gestures of various monkey clips and choose from a list of potential translations.

The volunteers interpreted the apes correctly more than 50% of the time – with leading scientists concluding that this form of communication is likely shared by other great ape species as well.



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