Baboons, infants show similar gestures

March 22nd, 2012 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 22 (IANS) Baboons and infants show similar gesturing behaviour, suggesting shared communication systems.

Both human infants and baboons have a stronger preference for using their right hand to gesture.

It supports the hypothesis that language development, which is lateralized in the left part of the human brain, is based on a common gestural communication system, the journal Public Library of Science ONE reports.

Researchers led by Helene Meunier of the University of Strasbourg in France found that hand preference of both infants and baboons for grasping tasks depended on the location of the object.

But there was significant preference for the right hand when pointing (using a communicative gesture) at a specific stimulus even when the stimulus was closer to the left hand, a Strasbourg University statement said.

The authors conclude that their results suggest a common gestural communication system localized in the left hemisphere of the brain that in humans was later “invaded” by vocalization to become language.

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