Nonhuman Primate Communication That Humans Learn Their Language Socially

1528 WordsApr 20, 20167 Pages
One form of nonhuman primate communication that occurs in the wild is through noises (Zuberbuhler 6). Most primates have species specific sounds for certain situations (Zuberbuhler 6). For example, vervet monkeys have different alarm calls for different types of predators (Zuberbuhler 10). The listeners of these calls respond to each call differently, protecting themselves from specific predators (Zuberbuhler 10). This means that they are not just reacting to another monkey being scared, but they know what scared it based on the call the monkey makes. Specific calls therefore can be said to symbolize specific meanings (Zuberbuhler 10). However, it is not known whether or not this is intentional or if the monkeys are aware of this. While this would not necessarily be considered a language, it is one of their natural forms of communication. The human listeners and nonhuman listeners both interpret arbitrary noises to mean something specific (Zuberbuhler 11). However, a difference between human language and these primate calls is that humans learn their language socially (Zuberbuhler 11). There is no evidence to say that nonhuman primate calls or sounds are learned socially instead of instinctual (Zuberbuhler 11). In fact, there is some evidence to support the opposite. “Monkeys reared in social isolation produce basically all their species-typical call types from soon after birth”(Arbib 1054). This means that these species specific calls are not taught, but they know them

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