Do non-human primates have communication, language, both, or neither? By definition, communication is the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information (Snowdon). Communication is very closely related to social behavior since they are both referring to the ways animals interact with each other (Quiatt and Reynolds 1993). Conversely, language is defined as a system of communication using sounds or gestures that are put together in meaningful ways according to a set of rules (Haviland et al. 2010). Non-human primates and human primates are similar in many ways, and communication is no exception. They both have various types of communication senses and styles. Human primate communication senses consist of sight, smell,
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Capturing insects and prey is also an important part of everyday life for non-human primates (Prescott). Fruits are a key part of a primate’s diet, so having color vision to distinguish ripe fruits from unripe fruits is important for survival (Prescott). Primates need to be able to see other primates to distinguish them from others, find mating partners, and just to be able to roam around without running into things and hurting themselves (Prescott).
Over the years, many have thought that primate’s sense of smell was poorly developed, but recent studies have shown a well-developed sense of smell in New and Old World primate species (Prescott). Although the sense of smell has diminished over the years and has been taken over by highly developed vision, the sense of smell is still heavily developed (Haviland et al. 2010). The earlier ground-dwelling, night-active primates used the sense of smell as a way to find food, protect themselves from hidden predators, and function in the dark (Haviland et al. 2010). Just like sight and smell, taste determines the foods primates eat and the diet they follow. Primates tend to accept foods with sweet tastes, but reject foods with sour tastes (Prescott). As mentioned, vision, along with the sense of smell helps in identifying sexual partners, recognizing group members, and communicating reproductive status (Quiatt and Reynolds 1993). Essentially, senses of sight, smell, and taste are mainly used to find foods on the diet of