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3rd Meeting of the 199th Session (2019-2020)

Gestural Origins: Exploring the evolutionary origins of human language through great ape gesture

Dr Cat Hobaiter

Dr Cat Hobaiter

Dr Cat Hobaiter
Lecturer in Origins of Mind
University of St Andrews

On Monday 25th November 2019, at 7pm

Language is the most powerful social tool any species has evolved. With it we can describe any idea that comes into our mind and share it with the minds of those around us. But all great apes, including humans, employ rich repertoires of vocalizations, facial expressions, and gestures. I will discuss recent research on ape gesture, looking at how we can explore meaning in the communication of other species and what this tells us about our own evolutionary journey.

Cat Hobaiter is a lecturer in primate behaviour at the Origins of Mind group in the University of St Andrews in St Andrews, Scotland. She has spent the past 15-years living and working with wild primates across Africa, in particular the chimpanzees of the Budongo Forest. Through long-term field studies she explores what the behaviour of great apes living in their natural environment tells us about their minds, and about the evolutionary origins of our own behaviour.