3 Answers

  1. Does the parrot speak? A question of terminology. As a well-established term-a talking parrot-yes, it does. As a manifestation of thinking, no. This is an imitation of speech, not a meaningful process. Thus, speech is only a means of communication through which an animal can theoretically manifest its thinking abilities. If he has them. After all, it can be assumed that the oak tree is intelligent and simply does not have the means to manifest its intelligence, as, for example, a completely paralyzed person. The fact that monkeys are technically capable of speech, but have not been able to realize this potential themselves, rather indicates a lack of thinking.�

    Thus, teaching a monkey and a human to understand a language together is only a way to increase communication, which in turn will allow you to more reliably verify the absence or, suddenly, the presence of intelligence in the monkey. At the same time, it should be understood that if the monkey is not intelligent, then it can be trained to speak. But not a reasonable understanding of speech. But only a signal understanding-based on instincts: correctly reproduced-received a reward.� This is “correct” and requires understanding from the monkey, it can theoretically be reasonable – based on analysis (and therefore thinking). Or it can be trained – on the developed conditioned reflexes.

  2. The talking higher apes are real.

    In general, it seems to me that this is one of the religious taboos, and those scientists who persist in talking about the imitation of speech by monkeys are just religious scientists, the existence of which is so cheerfully denied by some people.

    If we are descended from a common ancestor with apes, or if we are simply built in the same way as apes, then what logic forbids apes to have primitive speech? Where did it come from?

    If something is designed in the same way, then the functionality is the same.

    Do they really work the same way? Scientists are trying to find a gene that would cause a radical difference between us and monkeys in anything responsible for speech.

    FOXP2 was greeted with enthusiasm 16 years ago. It is responsible for many articulation abilities at once. I was particularly pleased that they immediately tried to plant a human version of this gene in mice. Thank God the mice didn't seem to be talking, but who knows…

    Later, FOXB1 was found, and its damage is found in people with short-term memory problems.

    Later, the HAR zone was discovered, a part of the genome that is significantly different from the chimpanzee genome and developed very quickly in humans. Its connection with brain development in embryos has been established.

    Here we must take into account that first, genes are not responsible for one function, but one for many functions, and many genes affect one function. And secondly, experiments on human embryos are ethically very questionable. That is, to damage the gene of a human embryo and see what happens, this is an impossible experiment. Therefore, the data is used indirectly. On animals, on live cell cultures (for example, brain tissue).

    Even though the difference between us and chimpanzees is minimal, there is no single reason for human speech.

    P.S. If speech, then thinking. But self-awareness, it is very difficult to check. There are dozens of different assumptions and tests that animals pass without speech, but it is difficult to prove anything here. For each individual act (such as self-identification in a mirror), self-awareness is not required, and some animals have it, but in general, there is no clarity.

  3. American psychologists Allen and Beatrice Gardner, watching a film about Vicki, noticed that she accompanies every word with an expressive gesture, so that it could be understood by turning off the sound. At this time, information began to arrive that for wild chimpanzees, gestures are an important means of communication. This led the Gardners to conclude that it was better to explore chimpanzees ' linguistic abilities by using gestures.

    In 1966, the Gardners acquired a young female chimpanzee named Washoe to teach her to speak the American language of the deaf and dumb, Amslene. Amslen was chosen because it is a well-studied language, and it was also possible to compare the development of chimpanzees and deaf-mute children.

    Washoe was shown an object or action, and then her fingers were placed in the appropriate gesture, causing an associative connection in her mind. After learning the eight characters, Washoe began to combine them. Even at the beginning of training, she demonstrated an understanding of signs: she recognized the image in the picture as well as the object itself, distinguished a small image of an adult from an image of a child, and so on.Washoe actively used signs to communicate with people and achieve her goals. Five years later, she knew 160 words.

    By 1972, a dozen chimpanzees had already been trained in amslen at the Oklahoma Primate Research Institute.

    Experiments have shown that chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas have a symbolic mindset and easily use the generalization principle, applying familiar gestures to new situations. Great apes are able to use words in a figurative sense, they own metaphors. They can create new concepts by combining well-known words, for example: “toilet” — “dirty good”; “lighter” — “bottle match”.

    The main development of speech and intelligence of talking monkeys occurs, as a rule, in the first years of life — most often monkeys reach the level of a two-or three-year-old child in speech development. Growing up, they remain very much like children, react childishly to life situations and prefer games to all other ways of spending time. Monkeys also have a sense of humor.

    A case is described where a female bonobo trained in sign language taught her cub herself instead of a human experimenter. In an experiment conducted by the Great Ape Research Foundation (USA), the famous male Kanzi was taught to understand by ear about 3,000 English words and actively use more than 500 words using a keyboard with lexigrams (geometric signs).[4] This allows us to speak of bonobos as the most intelligent primate species, of course, after humans.

    The position of critics strongly depends on their definition of what exactly constitutes a human language, and this question does not have a clear answer in modern science[5].

    Almost from the very beginning of the experiments, the version about the apes ' ability to speak met with criticism. One of the leaders of the Nim project, Herbert Terres, published a resonant work in 1979, in which he claimed that monkeys randomly repeat gestures recently used in the speech of the interlocutor.[6][7] Later, Terres ' report was thoroughly verified, and its reasoning was repeatedly challenged in scientific discussions, including by E. Bernstein and T. Kent. There is an opinion that some criticism of specific works that proclaimed the ability of monkeys to learn language was justified, but it cannot be extended to the whole set of such works. Terres ' position has become ingrained in the public consciousness due to his extensive citation in the scientific press and media coverage, and has been reflected in journalistic works[5]. Among the recent publications criticizing Terres ' skepticism about the phenomenon of talking monkeys, an influential article is considered by the philosopher Peter Singer[8]. Singer, following J. R. R. Tolkien. Pullum [9] believes that Nim the chimpanzee really did not master the language, but that this was not due to the apes ' inability to learn the language, but to incorrect and insufficiently diligent training. In turn, Singer's position was criticized by M. Seidenberg, who, while agreeing that Nim lacked personal attention, asserts that the monkey received sufficient language training[10].

    There are claims in the literature that Terres no longer took part in the discussions, [5] but several times he published responses to criticism, [11][12] expressed his opinion in the press, [13] and still holds the view that monkeys are not able to master the language.[14]

    Linguists[15][16], zoopsychologists[17], and ethological biologists[18][19] have criticized the hypothesis of ape language abilities in scientific and popular literature. Critics pointed not only to the apparent inability of monkeys to build sentences, but also to the significantly weaker ability to remember words than humans: it was noted that according to the most optimistic statements, monkeys are able to increase their vocabulary to about a hundred words, while children by the age of 5 know about 2 thousand words.[20] Some of the critics ' objections, in turn, were refuted by other authors.[5] In particular, the claim that monkeys were given sign and other cues when teaching them was criticized: after the key skeptical report of Terres and co-authors, researchers specifically tried to minimize the cues given to monkeys, although there is reason to believe that such cues also play a significant role in teaching people language.[20]

    After 1979, funding for research on the phenomenon of talking monkeys was sharply reduced. But despite the skeptical attitude to the hypothetical phenomenon that is widespread in science, the question of the ability of monkeys to learn language is not completely closed: a number of scientists are of the opinion that monkeys can be taught to speak, and a few studies continue, giving, among other things, optimistic results.[21] wikipedia.org

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