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Can Communications Be Learned From Chimps?

simoniker posted about 10 years ago | from the bubbles dept.

Communications 312

Pine UK writes "The Zoological Society of London are looking for volunteers who are willing to 'talk chimp' in everyday life. The ZSL will be studying the volunteers to see how talking chimp affects situations like workplace conflicts. According to BBC News, the volunteers are expected to show their emotions in a chimp like fashion. This can be done by baring their teeth and by using submissive body language such as lowering their heads and crouching. The ZSL will publish their findings later this year."

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312 comments

The future.. (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 10 years ago | (#8797424)


Animal behaviour experts at ZSL are asking volunteers to 'talk chimp' in everyday life and see how primate patter can resolve workplace conflicts

I can just imagine the natural progression of such an experiment:

2004: "Oooo oooo ooohhh AAHH AAHH ooo oo AAHHH AHHHH ooo ooooo..."

2005: "We own Linux."

Re:The future.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797488)

You manage to quote the article, and get frost piss within seconds of the public story posting. I'd wager you're a Slashdot subscriber or you have a spare subscriber account.

Well, (3, Insightful)

kemapa (733992) | about 10 years ago | (#8797425)

I really hope this is not a government sponsored study. I mean, even if researches conclude that chimp-like movements, facial expressions, and noises help solve workplace and home conflicts, how many people are really going to start walking around going "abuga luuga luuga" and whatnot?

Chimps in the Government (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797691)

We don't need volunteers. Why not just study from our dear president G W Bush [bham.ac.uk] ?

Re:Well, (5, Insightful)

pilgrim23 (716938) | about 10 years ago | (#8797695)

From some literature I read some years ago, I remember that the hallmark of an alpha male in Chimp society was the ability to scream loud, gesticulate aggressively, then while standing in a position between its tribe and the perceived threat or object of displeasure, squat, defecate and then skillfully project the product thereof in the general direction of dislike. This is consistent primate behavior. Would not the US Congress or perhaps the UN be a better venue for this sort of study?

Sure (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797429)

Just listen to some rap music.

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797688)

Mod parent up +1 sad but true!

Is Learnt a word? (1)

simetra (155655) | about 10 years ago | (#8797430)

Really, I'm curious.

Re:Is Learnt a word? (2, Informative)

simoniker (40) | about 10 years ago | (#8797451)

In a word, yes [reference.com] , but headline has been changed to stop inevitable 50-post grammar dissection (or.. has it?)

Yes. (1)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | about 10 years ago | (#8797564)

From Webster's [webster.com]
chiefly British past and past participle of LEARN

As a recomendation - Don't use this tense in American Schools! You will loose points!
I am in a program with lots of people who speak English as a second langauge. They learned English from British teachers. Well, to make a long story short, my classmate wrote a paper using this tense and lost a shit load of points. I recomended that she take it up with the professor - she didn't think it was wise. She was right not to. I challenged the prof about something and she, let's say, didn't like it. FYI, I was sweet as honey too!

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797616)

You will loose points!

And we all know, loose points are dangerous things indeed.

Re:Is Learnt a word? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797572)

And is 'miniseries' a word too? And is it really wrong to start a sentence with 'and'?

Re:Is Learnt a word? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797587)

Is learnt a word? Well, let me log into my boxen and find out. First, let me check for virii...wOOt! found none, teh haxors must b on vacation. Now, what was ur question again?

Chimp Journal reports (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797434)

That humans have finally been trained to communicate after years of work!

Simple Answer (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797436)

No.

Re:Simple Answer (Unheard Phonemes) (3, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | about 10 years ago | (#8797731)

Its possible that chimp langauges might include phonetic variations that will be impossible for adult humans to hear. For example, some human languages (Navaho is one IIRC) involve phonemes that must be learned in infancy - if one doesn't hear these sounds while the brain is plastic, one never can learn these sounds. Once a baby is older than 18 months, they lose the ability to hear the differences in phonemes. The same could be true with chimps.

We adults may not even be hearing the differences in all the sounds that chimps can make (and mean). And I doubt anyone is going to let a human infant be raised by chimps to properly learn their language.

chimps (4, Funny)

blackmonday (607916) | about 10 years ago | (#8797438)

If by "commnuication" you mean throwing your own poo to show disgust, then I would say "yes!".

Re:chimps (2, Funny)

Snad (719864) | about 10 years ago | (#8797547)

If by "commnuication" you mean throwing your own poo to show disgust, then I would say "yes!".

Oh it's much worse than that. Bored chimps in the zoo masturbate to relieve the, er, boredom.

Imagine all the bored /. nerds at work unable to read (it's not chimp communication), and instead taking up the chimp's ways....

Actually, that's not something to imagine. (shudder).

Re:chimps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797568)

Oh come on! How many guys JACK OFF in the john at work???? Come on, be honest!

Blimey! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797448)

Everytime I cross the pond I have to get fingerprinted? Guess I'd better stop wearing women's clothing. Bloody 'ell, those damn Yanks. Well, I best be catching me a lorry so I can have tea with me mum. Hope I don't break me arm cause I'd hate to have to wait 18 hours in searing pain in the emergency loo. 4 pounds sterling for a gallon of petrol? Well, at least it isnt 4 pounds 50 like last year. Better fill up the boot before it costs me an extra squid. God hail the Queen for providing for us. Bob's your uncle and all that. Cheerio.

Yes (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797453)

When the chimp warns about WMD, there is a strong chance of war

The Chimpsons (4, Funny)

gid13 (620803) | about 10 years ago | (#8797458)

Of COURSE we can learn communications from chimps. Didn't you see Planet of the Apes? Wait a minute... Statue of Liberty... That was OUR planet! And you blew it up! DAMN YOU!!! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!!!

Question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797459)

Teabagging..What's it all about? Is it good or is it wack?

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797504)

Bagee == Good; Bagger == Bad

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797526)

Ask #linux on efnet. The people there are master teabaggers.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797550)

Suck a boot, nutsack.

What I learned from chimps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797461)

Using feces throwing as conflict resolution is quite effective at leading to self-employment.

Interesting... (4, Funny)

kevlar (13509) | about 10 years ago | (#8797469)

This gives a whole new meaning to "Going Ape-Shit" in the work place.

Legitimizing Ape-Shit behavior between team managers definately does not provide a positive answer to the question: "Is this good for the Company?".

Well.. (2, Funny)

i7981 (734398) | about 10 years ago | (#8797470)

If acting like a monkey can take away a person's first ammendment right's in the name of terrorism, It must have something right.

Um... (4, Funny)

Auckerman (223266) | about 10 years ago | (#8797472)

"see how talking chimp affects situations like workplace conflicts"

I'm no expert in Zoology, but I'm assuming you'll have the shit beat out of you by the end of the day. It would be about as bad as saying "someone has the case of the Mondays" on a construciton site.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797565)

The study is in England.

Re:Um... (2, Funny)

Auckerman (223266) | about 10 years ago | (#8797704)

"The study is in England."

Well....then..okay

They would have the BLOODY shit kicked out of them by the end of the day.

April 7, the New Fool's Day? (3, Insightful)

handy_vandal (606174) | about 10 years ago | (#8797475)

The Zoological Society of London are looking for volunteers who are willing to 'talk chimp' in everyday life.

This is too rich: parody that writes itself.

Are we sure that April 7 isn't All Fool's Day ...?

-kgj

Nothing new... (5, Funny)

Alexis Brooke (662281) | about 10 years ago | (#8797477)

Animal behaviour experts at ZSL are asking volunteers to 'talk chimp' in everyday life...

You can't be on the Internet for more than five minutes without seeing this.

OMG! Lik can u beleev teh chimps r talkin now? ROFLOLOKOL!!1!1!

The chimps is here, and they is us.

The BBC news article asks an important question (1)

KhalidBoussouara (768934) | about 10 years ago | (#8797481)

Would you groom your colleagues to diffuse tensions at work?

Well if your job has been outsourced to india, probably not.

Re:The BBC news article asks an important question (1)

Mateito (746185) | about 10 years ago | (#8797593)

Would you groom your colleagues to diffuse tensions at work?

Depends how cute they were....

Re:The BBC news article asks an important question (2, Funny)

PalmerEldritch42 (754411) | about 10 years ago | (#8797652)

I was threatened with a law suit when I tried grooming that hottie 3 cubes over from me at work. I'll have to tell them that it is part of a real scientific study, so maybe I'll get off with a small fine and restraining order.

Aren't we chimps? (4, Insightful)

CGP314 (672613) | about 10 years ago | (#8797486)

News, the volunteers are expected to show their emotions in a chimp like fashion. This can be done by baring their teeth and by using submissive body language such as lowering their heads and crouching

And this is different from how human body language is used how?


-Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]

Re:Aren't we chimps? (0)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#8797641)

"And this is different from how human body language is used how?"

Humans don't often need to wash their hands after the end of a heated exchagne.

Re:Aren't we chimps? (1)

gilrain (638808) | about 10 years ago | (#8797749)

Mostly in that we don't use 50% of the examples given. Even lowering your head in submission is not used often: it's usually a sign of shame amongst us humans, which is very different. I almost never see someone crouching as body language -- but when I do, it's usually more accurately a sign of aggression or self defense, like with feline predators.

Talking Chimp? (4, Funny)

Tiro (19535) | about 10 years ago | (#8797490)

They should probably check out /. while they're doing their research.

The trolls here have been communicating on the level of lower primates for years.

Primatologist humor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797497)

That's fine, as long as I don't have to communicate in bonobo!



Ha! Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week.





Bonobos are the only primate known to use casual sex as a greeting

Casual Sex ... (0, Redundant)

bigattichouse (527527) | about 10 years ago | (#8797500)

Is this Bonobos we're talking about? (The chimps that use sex for pretty much every social interaction)

Can Communications Be Learned From Chimps? (3, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | about 10 years ago | (#8797510)

No. You see, we are human beings. We have developed written and spoken language, art, music, drama and culture which allows us to communicate. Rather well, in fact.

I really don't think there is a need for "throw shit at each other" as a way to communicate.

Re:Can Communications Be Learned From Chimps? (2, Insightful)

Mateito (746185) | about 10 years ago | (#8797575)

> I really don't think there is a need for "throw
> shit at each other" as a way to communicate.

No... but it seems to be our standard way of settling international disputes.

"Hey, you have a towel on your head. Eat lead."

Re:Can Communications Be Learned From Chimps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797745)

"Hey, you have a towel on your head. Eat lead."

You missed the first portion of that exchange:

1. Guys with towel on head murders 3,000 innocent people.
2. "Hey, you harbor Al-Queda and have a towel on your head, Eat lead."

You can't really apply your thesis ("HYHATOYH. EL") to Iraqi towel-heads, since the US is taking so much care to avoid killing Iraqis that we're losing too many of our own soldiers.

Re:Can Communications Be Learned From Chimps? (4, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 10 years ago | (#8797698)

Yeah- we're really sophisticated. When we have to deal with someone we don't like we don't throw feces at him. Noooo- we PUT A BULLET IN HIS HEAD. And then we dump napalm all over his relatives, and burn their cities down, or drop atomic bombs on them.

We would NEVER throw poop at someone - WE'RE CIVILISED!!!

RS

Chimps (5, Funny)

Mateito (746185) | about 10 years ago | (#8797522)

Of course... give an infinite number of chimps an infinite amount of time and they will produce all the knowledge in the known universe.

Give a finite number of chimps a finite amount of time and they will produce slashdot comments.

Give a single chimp a broken typewriter and a banana and he will post dupes as CowboyNeal.

Silly idea (4, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | about 10 years ago | (#8797529)

Humans already have a range of expected emotional responses that are ingrained into us by culture.

Honestly, if a co-worker of mine bared his teeth and cringed or tried to wave his arms about, draw himself up tall, and shriek, I'd be convinced that he was stark, raving insane. While the researchers are trying to make a point about showing off your emotions better, I think they miss the need in human society to NOT show your emotions at times.

Heck, even confrontational chimps will hide their nervousness until after a stand-off.

only ... (3, Funny)

SirSlud (67381) | about 10 years ago | (#8797531)

... if I can retain the copyright on the Shakespeare plays I produce whilst participating.

Chimps (1)

aspirationz (769425) | about 10 years ago | (#8797533)

I just can't wait to be walking down the street and seeing someone swinging from a lamp post. Then I'll know the world is crazy.

Well... (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | about 10 years ago | (#8797534)

A thousand chimps typing on a thousand typewriters for a thousand years can write some pretty fine Perl scripts.

Writing PERL is like playing (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#8797713)

dragon poker. You just hit a punch of keys, and sit back while your collegue's figure out how great it is, and explain it for you.

coming to take me away, haha.... (1)

erobertstad (442529) | about 10 years ago | (#8797537)

Does anyone else see an influx of people locked up in the nice white rooms following this study? :)

Re:coming to take me away, haha.... (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | about 10 years ago | (#8797744)

I think someone should inform the writter of the article of the fact that those mental institution are populated with big muscular men with sharp pointy needles and not with sexy hot nurses.

Communication CAN be learned from chimps (2, Funny)

Trolling4Dollars (627073) | about 10 years ago | (#8797541)

Our president and most of the republicans in political offices across this land are proof of that. So the REAL question is... is learning communication from chimps a good thing? ;P

I fail to see... (2, Funny)

Unnngh! (731758) | about 10 years ago | (#8797551)

...how this would be any different from my current communications with my co-workers and family members...?

What about orangutans? (3, Funny)

cruff (171569) | about 10 years ago | (#8797556)

The morphed orangutan librarian of Unseen University on Discworld is pretty expressive with variations of "ook". Many people in the novels understand him.

Re:What about orangutans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797707)

I'm sorry to break this to you, but that orangutan doesn't actually exist.

Not chimps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797576)

Orangutans.

Ooooooook!

(it's Pratchett people)

Their first attempt... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797581)

...to have everyone talk like dolphins ended in abject failure. And the raw Mackerel was disgusting.

Yes, I do... (1)

Mullen (14656) | about 10 years ago | (#8797583)

volunteers who are willing to 'talk chimp' in everyday life.

I do, but they are called "co-workers" where I do.

checklist... (4, Funny)

Geek_3.3 (768699) | about 10 years ago | (#8797588)

poo flinging behavior to show disgust (literal or figurative)... check

parasite grooming (a.k.a. the search for salty snacks)... check

flying off the handle for no readily apparent reason and causing others around you to follow same panicky behavior... check

Just like looking into the mirror! :-)

AAAHHH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797601)

get YOUR stinking HANDS off ME you damn DIRTY APES!!!

Obviously not looking for great response (2, Insightful)

Pahalial (580781) | about 10 years ago | (#8797606)

After downloading the survey and laughing a bit more, I noticed they only mention how to send it back to them by snail mail - no online file upload or even email address to collect them. Which implies to me that this is either a joke or something they expect at most a few hundred people to reply to [otherwise they'd have found a simpler and more effective response system].

Re:Obviously not looking for great response (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 years ago | (#8797746)

or the just want to cut back at the amount of crap entries they will get. Plus, it's cheaper for them.

I see this already in the world. (1)

killyourblender (749172) | about 10 years ago | (#8797622)

Grooming:
My mother is a manicurist. When seeing her clients, she doesn't just do nails. She plays soothing music, fixes a cup of tea, and engages in witty banter with them. Her clients don't just come for the nail job, they come for the atmosphere and the bonding experience.

Distress:
I'm reminded of Sir Gawain from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Brother Maynard thought he was mispronouncing the name of Castle AAaaargghhh... but in all reality, he was crying in shock at sight of the Great Black Beast.

Greeting:
Regarding the open fist, I have three words: "What up, nigga?"

Close... (2, Funny)

Fwongo (570947) | about 10 years ago | (#8797627)

Ook! [dangermouse.net] is a programming language for orangutans. It workers can be building skills in conversation!

has it already started? (3, Funny)

rjelks (635588) | about 10 years ago | (#8797637)

I think some of my coworkers have already agreed to participate.

Re:has it already started? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797685)

I think the 16 year old girl who wrote this is already participating (I wish I was making this up):

EMINEM... HEZ PIDDY COO.. AWESOME ARTIST, PIDDY COO ACTOR... N HEZ PIDDY HOTT N' SEXXY FO A WHYTE BOI... LOLZ N HYS MOVIE 8 MILE!!... WAZ AWESOMEZ 2!!... HEHE... BUT MAH SHAWN DESMAN ISH DA HOTTEST WHYTE BOI OUT DERE!! OOOO WEEEE... EHE... Oh mA dammmn! EMINEM IS A SEXI LIL DUDE! LOLZ DA BEST SONG OV IM IS THE KIDS OR SUPERMAN LOLZ NIEWAY HEHE THANX 2HOT2HANDLE...I KNO IM NICE!! LOLZ... HEHE U SEEM LIKE A SWEETY UR SELF... SO U FROM BC 2.. AWESUME... WHERE BOUTZ? ME VAN...HEHE.... ANGEL_GRLL YEZ I DO LIKEZ SHAWN DESMAN... HE A HOTTY!! LOLZ... BUT YEAH WE ALL GOT OUR OWN OPINIONZ...LOLZ... AITEY AITEY!!...NOW IM OUTTIE OUTTIE... TIME FO SUM MO DRINKIE DRINKIE, DEN TIME FO BEDDY WEDDY!! LOLZ... UR WELCOME MAH PLEASURE 2HOT2HANDLE.... WATZ UR NAME? IM MONA IF U WANNA KNO!....HEHE... YEAH N I AGREE DAT CRAIG DAVID ISH A HELLA FYNE... U KNO WAT I GOT A BROWN FREND DAT LOOKZ LIKE CRAIG DAVID BUT JUS MORE BUFFER!!!....OOOO WEEEEE...NOW HEZ YUMMY...TRUSS ME!! LOLZ...

Save money! Use niggers! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797643)

Put the welfare niggers to work here, no learning curve. They already speak monkey...

better way to do it (4, Interesting)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 10 years ago | (#8797650)

As proposed in the article, this seems extremely lame. However, I've long thought there would be a better way to do it. Humans age 0 to about 4 show a remarkable ability to pick up any languauge. I suggest we should take some yound children (it's not like there isn't a large surplus of them) and raise them with chimps and even dolphins, as well as give them enough human contact that they also pick up our language. Then in a short time we would have people (small people, but still people) who do understand communication of these other species, rather than have people who just act like apes (we have enough of those already).

You can't copy language without the society (5, Funny)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | about 10 years ago | (#8797664)

Accordint to the structuralist [colorado.edu] theory of language and society, you cannot copy the former without copying the latter. This means that if this experiment is supposed to have any value, all the participants should also create a martriarchal polyamorous sexual commune. Which reminds me: do they still need volunteers?

Oh, too much fun... (4, Funny)

dghcasp (459766) | about 10 years ago | (#8797676)

In a chimp-like fashion?

You mean like picking bugs out of each other's hair to show support?

Or having sex with all the females in the office in front of the men to show your power?

Or flinging sh*t at people who say stupid things in meetings?

The funny thing is, it'd still be better than the way things work at my office.

Doing this for a couple of years... (1)

Daimaou (97573) | about 10 years ago | (#8797700)

My company has been experimenting with chimps in the HR department for years. Whenever there is a conflict at work, the parties can go complain and have their dispute resolved through the bonding experience of ducking dollops of hurled dung together.

This research has been done before (2, Funny)

kbahey (102895) | about 10 years ago | (#8797709)

There was quite an extensive study on a high profile figure in US Politics, and the results can be viewed here [bushorchimp.com]

We already practice some of this where I work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8797729)

In meetings with the top bosses, we alread follow the "..using submissive body language such as lowering their heads..." in meetings so we won't get fired..
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