Can Apes Really "Talk" To Humans?

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Maxx B : Wouldn't it be easier for humans to learn how chimps communicate? Apparently we're the intelligent ones.

MakoBeauty : the just wanted food and affection? join the club kids, that's what all humans do anyway.

mynameisnotdave23 : give me eat orange give me eat orange give me eat orange GIVE ME YOU

Oskidoodle : Give Orange Me Give Eat Orange Me Eat Orange Give Me Eat Orange Give Me Y O U

M. Utley : What _is_ language actually if not just repetitive association with objects? Do these apes have to be Shakespeares or poets of sorts, forming novel combinations of words to prove they are talking? Do they have to perceive the world and posit questions exactly as humans do in order for us to say they recognize and use words? We've heard about monkeys that make different calls for different predators. And dolphins apparently have unique calls for each other that they will employ even when that individual is absent. We continue to question animal intelligence in a way I think that is meant to make us seem more unique in some way. Don't get me wrong. Skepticism is VITAL. And we should NOT be lulled into anthropomorphizing these creatures and palm-reading results. However, at some point, on the most pragmatic level, what about this isn't language? What about *"GIVE ORANGE ME GIVE EAT ORANGE ME EAT ORANGE GIVE ME EAT ORANGE GIVE ME YOU"* is not clear communication? Even if it only shows that chimps basically want food and affection. They're employing abstractions to yield a desired result. If this is just a trick, why is not a trick when we perform the same exercise?

PendulumSkateCo : "the monkeys didn't speak in perfect English sentences.....therefore monkeys cannot communicate with humans"

hi : 5:01 *harvard wants to know your location*

Crusoe : Actually Koko often combined concepts to express new ones she didn't have the vocabolary for. If I'm not wrong she signed "finger bracelet" to express ring.

Erick Alex : Give me orange Give me eat orange Give me you Me trying to find an excuse to talk to my crush.

C'est d'la bonne : The urge us human have to make animals like us is really weird...

JusticeForTheSilenced : If Washoe signed "water" and "bird" at the swan, wouldn't that still mean he knew sign language?

Sebbuz11 : They just use a simpler form of language....

Lucille de Lorme : I'd be fascinated to see the various 'talking' apes in a room together ( or possibly Via Skype for convenience) to get a window on what they'd have to say to each other. It would be incredibly eye opening to know how they'd communicate with the skills they've all been taught. Make it happen.

SingDanceKC : You are always going to find a bunch of skeptical scientists who are the victims of the "not invented here" syndrome. Meaning if they didn't think of it, it's not true. Arrogant! There's nothing wrong with Apes learning English to get food. Don't people use language to get what they want?

monomer2 : Obviously all animals communicate with each other.  However each species do this in accordance with their own physical abilities, which includes brain structure and nervous systems.  Could we humans effectively communicate with a far more advanced and intelligent species (think aliens) under their terms of what they consider language?  Not possible.  We would only be able to communicate using our limited abilities and understanding... meaning they would somehow need to figure out how we communicate and reduce their level of understanding to try to get a sense of who we are.  We need to do the same when trying to communicate with another species on our planet.  We need to learn their language and establish communication that way... humans are a very ego-centric species, which could explain why we often have trouble coexisting (connecting) with the rest of life on the planet.

titmusspaultpaul5 : Sceptics are afraid to say definitively that Apes can speak because first and formost they don't want to be proven wrong and look stupid. I've seen hours of footage from Koko the Benobo ape and other apes that have been taught to speak and there can be NO DOUBT they understand and use language correctly, as shown in your last example with the use of lexicons. There can be no other way to interpret the data. Koko was once shown a ring but hadn't seen one before and had no lexicon ( yes she used luxicons AND sign language) for ring. She then pressed the symble for finger then the symble for necklace.... and when you think about it thats very smart and appropriate becase a ring is a finger necklace. If i didn't know the symble for ring thats exactly what i would use to describe it, as would a lot of you I'm sure. Maybe we need sceptics but there is a time when you need to open you mind and eyes and really look at whats going on, not looking at the situation through sceptic eyes.

Sea Level Cain : The professor was lying. The dog does understand the word sit. You say sit, it sits. But it's very simple. Like a child. It understands English but it's only ONE ENGLISH WORD. -Animals can "talk" but their form of talking is different. I have a cat, that once she run out of water, she sits by the water bowl and meows annoyingly. Trying to tell me to to fill it. It's her form of communicating with me without speaking english. Also, in the morning she jumps on my head and meows on my ear when she wants me to open a can of cat food! I know she's trying to "train me" to give her food whenever she does that. -A dog, who I taught to potty train in a pee pad. She would get a treat when she would pee or poo on it. Well, she began to purposely sit patiently on her pee pad and look at me. Thinking that would work in order to give her a treat. Heh, heh, I know what she meant and what she was trying to tell me. You ask my dog if she wants a "TREAT" she definitely knows what that word means. She will run ahead of me to the kitchen by the refrigerator, because she knows that's where I put my treat bag. Animals have limited language, but they do try to communicate with us in their own way.

thomas sumrall : Koko has a brother that when he asked why he was sad, he responded by saying humans kill mother which they interpr9to mean his capture. And kanzi would go camping, make the campfire, but toast marshmallows and pour water on the fire when they were done.

NewAmericanConsensus : One term. Mirror self-recognition. Apes are among the most intelligent creatures on earth. I think it’s okay to appreciate their intelligence for what it is. Reflecting on how human these animals are in their advanced cognition gives people an important sense of animals as agents deserving of respect and protection. To view them from the Cartesian ‘animal-machine’ perspective tends to lead people to view them as lesser and not deserving of moral consideration. You’ll never get to have a conversation with an ape, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t human in many other respects. They are cognitively limited by comparison to humans, but that shouldn’t be the point that’s emphasized. We should be humanizing animals in any way that is logically tenable imo, to do otherwise is unhealthy.

Your Neighbour : That professor might need to be reminded that because he takes a contrarian position doesn't automatically make him right.

Imagine waffles13 : Discrediting primates learning sign language as a means for them only to get what they want is wrong. Koko would have nothing to gain from doing things like expressing her emotions. She was the only primate to truly learn a base level of sign language. 💔 R.I.P Koko

Ed Puffer : I have seen this before. These scientists won't accept the data because they didn't discover it. Hell the U.S. won't try a new medicine that works in another country but they have to go through years of study to find out if it really works. No wonder Americans go to other countries to get treatment because they won't do it here.

T.R. Ryan : Gimme a break! The incredible bonobos, who have formed a cohesive society where everyone gets some of the pie and they don't kill each other, (things humans have never accomplished in modern society.) And instead of studying this remarkable achievement, NPR is concerned whether their larynx can form human sounds? Here's a clue, fools---it's physiologically impossible for them! And apparently they have better things to do, like sharing food..

Nathaniel Anderson : I believe that many animals can understand human speech.

OneironauticalOne : The host talks with his lips not his face. It creeps me out...

I am YOU You Are ME : They're making it too complicated than it should be. Chimps just don't have ego like we do. This is what makes us different.

Drew M : If Nom signed basically give me orange over and over doesn't that show it knows what it's asking for and the fact that it repeated it could have been frustration at not receiving what it asked for. Also doesn't that show it understands that signing specific things = communication. No matter what you call it talking or communicating or what, they can in a limited fashion. I'm not saying they'll ever get to our level of conversation and I think that's what these people are expecting. Treat them as a 2-3 year old. Our children at that age can communicate with us but we also have to interpret certain things our own children say.... how is this any different?

Retromind : I talk to apes everyday in Detroit

catarina justus fischer : I think that we, human beings, are too arrogant. We want to understand and teach the animals our codes of thinking.... but as we can see they must have a very different code of thinking and communicating. If we continue to research based in our communication systems we will never achieve real communication with the animals. We should try to understand and to learn how they think, what is their codes and what is important or not in their interaction. We do nothing more than domesticate, in different ways the animals to our thinking, culture, morals and etc... That is why I think that only when we really try to understand an animal throwing aside our preconceptions, about behavior and thoughts, (human) and when we look for the feedback of the animals without assuming, than maybe we can start to learn how to communicate with other species in our planet.

knamedisme : How sad we humans always want others to be like us.... why simply study what the apes are saying in their natural habitat to each other?

Mobutu Obama : 7:03 You literally talk to apes everyday mate.

Omega Fury : Some great apes created a whole advanced country called wakanda.

Majd Alusta : imagine if an alien comes to earth and they are only 2% more evolved than us, we would be the chimps, in fact in reality we are animals but our egosystem destroyed the ecosystem and we think of ourselves the rulers of this planet... we still use language, imagine! just imagine what we would be able to do if we communicated via telepathy and emotional sensory! then you'd know how far underdeveloped we all are!!! oh well, keep on browsing on youtube :)

Krista Wiegand : That is how our language is, you learn the meaning of a word by associating an action with it through practice. If someone tells you to "stop" you eventually learn it means to "not do what you were doing before". How is that not understanding a meaning of a word? Humans are just able to create a more complex bank of words and meanings just with how our brains are designed.

Wj11jam : We should learn to communicate with them, as opposed to getting them to communicate with us. We are the smarter ones in this situation.

emykitkat : They can understand english. Let’s just leave it at that. Nope. No way can you make me think any other way.

Army Alpaca : Koko recently died. She was so cute and kind.

casesusa : why not? .... stranger things have happened; in Chicago dead people vote.

Your Neighbour : Saying apes learn language just to get food, isn't language just the same shortcut to get different things ? You don't necessarily need to learn why 'food' has two O and ends with D, but you know it means something edible and that's enough.

Steve Higgins : There are already talking apes...

Danielle Anner : We have no right to kidnap wild animals and compel them to be like us.

FluBluBoy : I think that the apes are using language like how dogs learn language, for example, when one of the apes was told to put the needles in the refrigerator, he took it as an order that was one word, he doesn't structure the sentence and analyse the words in the sentence. That is why we could not have said, put the needles and blueberrys in the fridge.

Magnus Peacock : Is anyone going to point out that humans *are* apes?

Jessica Pendleton : I REALLY liked this video, and I agree. Apes DO use language. In their own way like you said, because they don't understand all those silly grammar rules and things, because they can't really go to school and learn them. So, they, except for Viki and Gua, use language as well as maybe preschool children. And I also agree that Nim was treated VERY badly. If you want proof of that and his hard life, watch the documentary about Project Nim. Also, I really think that Chantek the orangutan should've been mentioned too, because he was REALLY great. Apes are almost as smart as people, and people need to see that. Sorry if that's offensive to scientists. Also, you pronounced Gua's name wrong. It's not pronounced "Gooa". It's pronounced "Gwa". Sorry for correcting you. I just thought people needed to know that who didn't.

AphidKirby : Your videos always fill me with such joy and I love your takes on these kind of topics! Your last words reflecting on the own intelligence and wonder of other apes was very nice. Thank you!

Captain Qwaz Caz : rip koko

walter bishop : Nim Chimpsky! I'm changing my name this week

Derpy PotatoFox : Yo, my cat can say "out" its a meow but she learned to copy the word and she knows what it means.


Pyro Demon : Aren’t similar lexigram studies being done on orangutans?