https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlmjF39vziY (Links to an external site.)
Your assignment is to view the video and discuss any aspects of chimpanzee life that are relevant to the evolution of human mental abilities, communication, and especially language.
Rubric: In order to write a good paper, everything you write has to be directly relevant to what the study of chimpanzee life can teach us about the evolution of human communication. You should cover all or almost all of the issues listed below. Use specific events in the video to support your points. Develop each example so that it supports your point well. Organize the issues so that you discuss each issue thoroughly before you move on to the next. Have a logical progression from issue to issue, leading to some kind of conclusion about chimpanzee and human communication.
Here are the issues to focus on:
• Chimpanzee social relations (“Social relations” means relations that chimpanzees have with other chimpanzees. This includes group membership). Describe the ways chimpanzees interact with each other. Include family and dominance relations, and social hierarchy. Don’t forget about grooming.
• What are the functions of grooming? What are the chimpanzees’ attitudes towards grooming?
• Describe communication and interaction between mother and child.
• What vocalizations are in the video? (“Vocalization” means making noise with the voice.) What is the function of the vocalizations? Do the vocalizations refer to anything? What kind of behavior or activity goes with the vocalizations? Look for different activities that go with different vocalizations. What do the chimps look at when they vocalize? Which vocalizations are directed at a specific individual Chimpanzee?
• Discuss all communication with gestures that you observe. This is especially important! (Gestures are actions with the hand, arm, or body that are intended to communicate. This includes touching but does not include fighting.) What is the purpose or function of each gesture? What is each gesture supposed to accomplish? What are the chimps looking at? Is there eye contact between chimps? Is the gesture directed at an individual chimpanzee? In your answer, describe and discuss specific gestures. Make your descriptions as complete as possible. Include any responses by other chimpanzees to the gestures.
• Do the chimpanzees cooperate with each other? Describe any cooperative behavior among chimpanzees. Do chimpanzees share anything with each other (e.g. share food)?