You can listen to Russon's interview with host Bob McDonald on Quirks & Quarks' Website. The interview begins at the 1:30 mark.
Russon has observed 18 cases of orangutans in Borneo using mime to communicate both simple and complex messages. In one example, an orangutan asked a researcher for help cracking open a coconut by acting out the motions required. Another wanted to share the memory of having had a researcher remove a sliver from a foot by repeatedly miming the action. It is thought that this form of communication among these great apes could provide a clue to the origins of human language.
Related Links, courtesy of CBC online:
- Paper in Biology Letters
- Original news release from the Research Website
- Science News (with video of the coconut incident)
Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, with files courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.