Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Anthropology

Major

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

First Advisor

Jill Pruetz

Abstract

Ape language research provides an opportunity to study empirically the relationship between language and thought, a question notoriously difficult to address. The conclusions reached till also inform theories of language evolution. The research in this dissertation was conducted with language-trained bonobos, Pan paniscus, at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa, utilizing a computerized matching method. The data provide evidence that the possession of symbols facilitate categorization of natural categories, a foundation for many cognitive operations. However, the data does not support the theories suggestions a primacy of gestural or other visual communication in the evolution of language. Rather, a multimodal origin of language is more likely. To explain how the ape subjects in this study came to acquire symbolic competencies, social niche construction theory is utilized.

Copyright Owner

Janni Pedersen

Language

en

Date Available

2012-10-31

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

159 pages

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