Title

Persistence of Lexicon in Signing Chimpanzees

Document Type

Poster

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

18-5-2020

Abstract

Chimpanzees Tatu and Loulis use signs of American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate (1,2,3,4,5). They lived with other chimpanzees at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) from 1980 to 2013 and then they moved to Fauna Foundation (FF). At CHCI all caregivers and chimpanzees used ASL. At FF only some caregivers and none of the chimpanzees used ASL. Tatu and Loulis continued to sign at FF (5). Caregivers at both CHCI and FF kept daily records of the chimpanzees’ use of signs in sign checklists. The current study is an analysis of 2018 and 2019 sign checklists. Tatu’s mean number of signs used per day (M=12) in this sample was lower than in the previous years at FF (M = 14) and Loulis’ was the same at both samples (M=4). Tatu’s lowest range of signs used per day in the previous years was 1–32 in 2016 and this sample was comparable in 2018 but lower in 2019. Loulis’ range was lower in this sample than his lowest range in previous years (1-8 in 2015). The total number of vocabulary items per year was similar to previous years at FF, with a slight increase for both chimpanzees as compared to 2015 and 2016. High frequency signs were nearly identical to previous years at FF. While Tatu’s and Loulis’ vocabulary use changed slightly in their transition from CHCI to FF, it remained consistent during their time at FF. ASL lexicon and use in chimpanzees is a robust behavior that persists throughout environments.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Mary Lee Jesnvold

Department/Program

Primate Behavior & Ecology

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May 18th, 12:00 PM

Persistence of Lexicon in Signing Chimpanzees

Ellensburg

Chimpanzees Tatu and Loulis use signs of American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate (1,2,3,4,5). They lived with other chimpanzees at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute (CHCI) from 1980 to 2013 and then they moved to Fauna Foundation (FF). At CHCI all caregivers and chimpanzees used ASL. At FF only some caregivers and none of the chimpanzees used ASL. Tatu and Loulis continued to sign at FF (5). Caregivers at both CHCI and FF kept daily records of the chimpanzees’ use of signs in sign checklists. The current study is an analysis of 2018 and 2019 sign checklists. Tatu’s mean number of signs used per day (M=12) in this sample was lower than in the previous years at FF (M = 14) and Loulis’ was the same at both samples (M=4). Tatu’s lowest range of signs used per day in the previous years was 1–32 in 2016 and this sample was comparable in 2018 but lower in 2019. Loulis’ range was lower in this sample than his lowest range in previous years (1-8 in 2015). The total number of vocabulary items per year was similar to previous years at FF, with a slight increase for both chimpanzees as compared to 2015 and 2016. High frequency signs were nearly identical to previous years at FF. While Tatu’s and Loulis’ vocabulary use changed slightly in their transition from CHCI to FF, it remained consistent during their time at FF. ASL lexicon and use in chimpanzees is a robust behavior that persists throughout environments.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2020/COTS/102