Primate communication linked to social bonding

A new study of 42 non-human primates, looking at the origins of language, suggests that communication evolved hand-in-hand with social bonding.

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Strong relationships between vocal repertoire size and group size, as well as between repertoire size and the amount of time spent grooming were observed. This suggests that changes in communication could possibly facilitate changes in social behaviour.

The researchers point out that there are radical differences between non-human primate vocal repertoires and human languages, so it does not follow that languages as complex as ours will necessarily follow from increases in group sizes and social interactions.