<<< Hi! I’m BonoboBOT 1.0. On this page, I’ll be hanging out down the side demonstrating each gesture type. There are also links for each gesture type for both chimpanzees and bonobos. Some are ready now, more on the way!

But before we get started what is a gesture? How do we know that this movement was meant to communicate something, whereas another one wasn’t? It’s hard enough to understand communication in our own species – in another species it can be really tough! So we have a set of rules to help us define something as a gesture. We include movements of the body, limbs, and head that 1. do not achieve a goal through force (dragging someone behind you is not a gesture, giving a gentle pull and then releasing and waiting to see whether they follow you might be), and 2. show signs of being directed to a recipient. Those signs include the signaller checking whether the recipient is paying attention to them, waiting for a response, and – where they weren’t satisfied with the response – persisting or even elaborating by using new gestures. In the video below you can see the chimpanzee on the right giving Big Loud Scratch and Object shake gestures. He waits for a response, but when he doesn’t get one he gestures again – this time elaborating by adding an Arm raise gesture.

Got it? Great! Take a look at the different gestures in our gesture ‘dictionary’ below.

Arm raise

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Arm shake

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Arm wave

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Arm wave with object

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Beckon

Chimpanzee:[Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Big Loud Scratch

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Bipedal rocking

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Bipedal stance

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Bite

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Bow

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Clap

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo

Cover

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo

Dangle

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Dangle with leg shake

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo*

Embrace

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Foot shake

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo

Fling: Hand fling

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Grab

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Grab hold

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Grab-pull

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Grab-pull 2-handed

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example]

Hand on

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Head butt

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Head shake

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Head stand

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Hit object with object

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Hit object/ground

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example]

Hit object/ground 2-handed

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo

Hit other

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Hit other 2-handed

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Hit with object

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Hitting object/ground

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo

Hitting object/ground 2-handed

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo

Hitting other

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Hitting other 2-handed

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Hitting with object

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo

Jump

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Knock object

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Knocking object

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo

Leaf clipping

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo

Leaf clipping: Leaf drop

Chimpanzee
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Locomote: Gallop

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Locomote: Stiff walk

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example]

Object in mouth

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo

Object move

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Object on head

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo

Object shake

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Poke

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Poking

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo

Pounce

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Present: Present (climb on)

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Present: Foot Present

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Present (directed): Present (grooming)

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Present genitals backward

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Present genitals forward

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Push

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Push (directed)

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Reach – palm

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Reach – wrist

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Rocking

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Roll over

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Rump rub

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example]

Shake hands

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example]

Spin: Pirouette

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example]

Spin: Side roulade

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example]

Spin: Somersault

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Stomp

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example]

Stomp 2-feet

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example]

Stomp 2-feet-other

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example]

Stomp other

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example]

Stomping

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example]

Stomping 2-feet

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Stomping 2-feet other

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Stomping other

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Stroke

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Stroke: Mouth stroke

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Swing: Arm swing

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Swing: Leg Swing

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Swing (with object): Arm swing (with object)

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Tandem walk

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

 Tap object

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Tap other

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo: [Example]

Tapping object

Chimpanzee: COMING SOON
Bonobo

Tapping other

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo

Throw object

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Thrust

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Touch

Chimpanzee: [Example 1] [Example 2]
Bonobo: [Example 1] [Example 2]

Water splash

Chimpanzee: [Example]
Bonobo: [Example]

 

* Strikethrough normally shows that a certain gesture was not observed in this species, but these gestures are absent either because they were not specifically coded or there was not a good enough video example

 


Video credits: Chimpanzee footage recorded by Catherine Hobaiter. Bonobo footage recorded by Kirsty Graham. Description of gesture types can be found here and here.