If you were to look at an ape right now, you would find an ongoing list of both similarities and differences they have with humans. Besides the obvious similarities and differences, apes and our nonhuman primates are just like us in so many extraordinary ways. However, there are various skills and abilities we possess that they don’t, and vice versa. Moreover, for the past fifty years anthropologists, scholars and researchers, such as Penny Patterson, have been studying our nonhuman primate’s behaviors, and as expected, they have been arguing about the differences and similarities they have to humans. As many people would say, humans and primates do have similar body features and anatomy. However, something they do not possess, like us humans do, is the ability to speak an elaborate verbal language. After extensive research, scholars and anthropologists eventually determined that they could communicate with them not by speaking, but by using ASL (American Sign Language), testing the theory that they could not use language. After extensive research and experiments, scholars have finally figured out that unlike most animals, apes can actually communicate with us by using ASL. In the article “Apes and Sign Language,” they talk about how in addition to this amazing discovery; they have also found that they can learn thousands and thousands of words and converse with people in other ways rather than with a spoken language. Furthermore, the first nonhuman primate to ever learn American Sign Language was a female chimpanzee called Washoe, who as a result of an experiment, managed to attain a vocabulary of more than one hundred signs. In order to have a good outcome of this experiment, every time researchers would go in to the trailer where she lived, they would refrain from saying a single spoken word, nonetheless English, and instead they would always use ASL as their form of communication.
Cited: “The Ape That Teaches.” Ape Genius Nova Website. A Conversation With Koko. Questar, Inc 2004. DVD. Kottak, Conrad “Apes and Sign Language.” Anthropology, The Exploration of Human Diversity. 2007. Print Patterson, Francine, Koko’s Kitten Scholastic Press, ISBN 1987. Book. Rubin, John. “What Makes Us Human?” Ape Genius Nova Website.