Do bonobos say NO by shaking their head?

Research paper by Christel C Schneider, Josep J Call, Katja K Liebal

Indexed on: 27 Apr '10Published on: 27 Apr '10Published in: Primates


Head-shaking gestures are commonly used by African great apes to solicit activities such as play. Here, we report observations of head shaking in four bonobos apparently aimed at preventing the recipient from doing something. This may reflect a primitive precursor of the negatively connoted head-shaking behavior in humans. Further investigations are needed to clarify the preventive function of head shakes and their evolutionary role in the evolution of negation in humans.