Anthropology, Department of


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Published in Nebraska Anthropologist Vol. 17 (2001-2002). Copyright © Kelli Bacon; published by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln AnthroGroup.


One of the hot topics in anthropology concerns the debate over chimpanzee communicative and lingual abilities. This paper will offer evidence gatheredfrom studies by Allen and Beatrice Gardner, Roger Fouts, Maury and Jane Temerlin, Herbert S. Terrace, T G. Bever, and Sheri Roush who all used American Sign Language (Ameslan) to teach their students Washoe, Lucy, Bruno, Booee, Cindy, Thelma, Nim, Moja, Pili, Tatu, Dar, Loulis, and Ally. Each of the studies lfas tailored differently, but many of the results were the same. This, in itself, might be evidence for some level of lingual ability, but some scholars such as Noam Chomsky, John Limber, E. Linden, Georges Mounin, and Herbert S. Terrace do not believe that these chimps reached a level of lingual prowess.

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