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Toddlers are ‘just tiny apes’ who share up to 96 per cent of monkeys’ gestures, new research finds

The study found that children aged between 1-2 years old rely on precisely 52 gestures to convey their emotions. And out of these movements, 50 of these gestures are also shared with apes.

LYDIA HAWKEN:Most parents of young children will have referred to their troublesome toddlers as “little monkeys” at some point or another. But an eye-opening new study has actually confirmed that young children are “just tiny apes” who share exactly 96 per cent of their mannerisms with monkeys… and we’re not in the least surprised.

Researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland found that toddlers use a variety of gestures similar to chimpanzees and gorillas when they’re first learning to communicate. From stamping their feet to shaking their heads, the study (published in Animal Cognition) found that children aged between one and two years old rely on precisely 52 gestures to convey their emotions. And out of these movements, 50 of these gestures are also shared with apes.

So before children have learnt to communicate their needs through language, it now appears they rely on our evolutionary past to get their feelings across… Examining children in both their nursery and home environments, researchers then compared the toddlers’ gestures to those used by chimpanzees in their natural habitat in Uganda. And while apes have over 80 gestures, which they use to communicate with each other, researchers were surprised by the overlap between young tots and chimpanzees…

Dr Hobaiter said: “We thought that we might find a few of these gestures – reaching out your palm to ask for something or sticking your hand up in the air – but we were amazed to see so many of the ‘ape’ gestures used by the children”… But the one gesture that remained uniquely human? Waving hello and goodbye. Other than that, we see no other difference between our terrible tots and a monkey’.  SOURCE…

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