Mailonline, August 4, 2012
Intelligent and inquisitive, chimpanzees have always been able to communicate with man.
But this heartbreaking video shows just how desperate this chimp is to be understood and to be let out of his cage.
The chimp is seen in the video motioning to a watching visitor to unlock the bolt on what appears to be a glass door and lift the window, so he can be free.
The YouTube user who uploaded the video claims that the monkey wanted to escape and was telling him to twist open the bolts.
Tapping on the window the chimp repeatedly urges people standing on the other side of the glass to let them outside.
It links its fingers together, a signal similar to the American Sign Language representation of the word ‘gate’.
Alex Bailey from Manchester, who recorded the interaction at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, interprets the signs as a direction to free the chimp, The Telegraph reported.
One chuckling man taps on the window and copies the chimp’s actions, mimicking the animal’s mimes of opening the window.
A bystander can be heard giggling and saying: ‘He wants us to open it’.
But the chimpanzee is more focused on trying to make itself understood, as it longingly looks at the people in front of him.
The video, which lasts around 48 seconds, was filmed at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, according to The Telegraph.
If it is communicating with sign language, it is not the first chimpanzee to do so.
Washoe was a female chimpanzee who was the first non-human to learn to communicate using American Sign Language.
The animal, who died in 2007, learnt 350 words, and taught her adopted son Loulis.
Other chimpanzees were later taught 150 or more signs, which they were able to combine to form messages.
Chimpanzees and humans share many similarities and they are believed to be our closest relative in the animal kingdom.
Chimpanzees communicate using a variety of grunts, screams and other sounds.
Most of their communication, however, is done through gestures and facial expressions.
Many of their facial expressions – surprise, grinning, pleading, comforting – are very similar to humans.
Humans have one fewer pair of chromosomes than other apes, since the ape chromosomes 2 and 4 have fused into a large chromosome (which contains remnants of the centromere and telomeres of the ancestral 2 and 4) in humans.
Chimpanzees are often incorrectly called monkeys, but are in the great ape family just like us. The other great apes are orangutans and gorillas.
Human brains have a high surface area because they are much more wrinkled than chimpanzee brains, with greater numbers of connections.
These and a larger frontal lobe, allow us a greater capacity for abstract and logical thought.