Intelligent Apes Understand Language

Koko the Gorilla isn’t the only Ape that understands language. Bonobos Kanzi and Panbanisha might have the highest level of language comprehension ever seen in non-humans.

1. Kanzi Understands Spoken Language

In this clip, Primatologist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh holds head-phones to Kanzi’s ears, playing a recording of a word that corresponds to an item on Kanzi’s Lexigram board.

Sue cannot hear the words that are being read to Kanzi, so she checks an ordered set of cards to confirm that Kanzi has pressed the right button.

2. Kanzi and Novel Sentences

In this exercise, Sue holds a welder’s mask to her face so that she can’t give any obvious nonverbal clues as to what objects she’s referring.

Kanzi seems to demonstrate an understanding of a wide range of nouns, verbs, and their relationships sufficient to carry out requests given in new phrases he may not have heard before.

3. Kanzi’s Sister Panbanisha Understands Language

4. Kanzi The Toolmaker

Kanzi demonstrates his ability to make stone tools, a skill that he learned by observing human researchers.

5. Bonobos: Language Recognition, Play

clip from the BBC Documentary Chimps Are People Too

6. Kanzi Talks To Lisa Ling On Oprah

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

 
  Your Reaction?
  REACT WITH GIF
 

    Starting soon, you'll only be able to post a comment on BuzzFeed using a Facebook account or via our app. If you have questions or thoughts, email us here.

    Hot Buzz

    Devastated Widow Of Kansas Immigrant Allegedly Killed By White Nationalist Demands Answers

    Make A Salad And We’ll Tell You How Many People You’ve Slept With

    quiz
    Now Buzzing