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Evidence for Symbolic Language Processing in a Bonobo (Pan paniscus)

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Abstract:



Evidence that an animal is capable of some degree of symbolic, human language processing supports the argument that the animal's consciousness is to some degree human-like. In this paper, we reinterpret the findings of Savage- Rumbaugh et al. (1993) using the twin tools of Deacon's referential hierarchy and Systemic Functional Linguistics, with a view to providing further corroborative evidence for a Bonobo ape's symbolic processing abilities, and as a result to open a window into the consciousness of at least one non-human primate.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of English, Glendon College, York University, Toronto, Canada.

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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