Ape language failure reported in Science (AAAS) News 25 March 2016. A bonobo named Kanzi was considered a champion at understanding verbal instructions given by humans. In a test consisting of 660 verbal commands in English, the ape scored 71%. However, a new study has revealed a severe limitation in the ape’s language ability.
The original test included instructions such as “show me the hot water” and “pour cold water in the potty”, i.e. all involving single items. Researchers have now tried a test involving more than one item, e.g. “give the lighter and the shoe to Rose”, or “give the water and the doggie to Rose”. In each of these cases the ape responded with one item, i.e. a lighter, but no shoe, a toy dog but no water. Overall, the ape’s success rate plummeted to 22.2%.
In a report given at a meeting on the evolution of language Robert Truswell of the University of Edinburgh explained that “because correct interpretation of such sentences requires reference to hierarchical constituent structure. Specifically … Kanzi must recognize that the object of give is the complex phrase the water and the doggie, and not just, for example, the next noun”.
According to Science News “This feature of grammar—which effectively ‘nests’ one unit within the bigger construct of a sentence—is easily picked up by humans, allowing us to communicate—and understand—more complex ideas”.
Editorial Comment: These experiments with apes are part of a futile attempt to find out how non-speaking apes could evolve human language. We may discover how apes learn and communicate, but such tests are so poorly and prejudicially designed they will never show the origin of human language from apes.
If you are willing to change perspective then investigate the following: Human beings speak, write and understand complex sentences because we were created in the image of the God, who speaks and writes. It makes us like Him. The first man and woman had language built in by their Creator. From then on all human beings were, and are, born with an innate ability to acquire whatever language (or languages) they are exposed to as infants.
Check the evidence also for language history as follows: until the judgement at the Tower of Babel all people spoke the same language. When God judged the people for their rebellion He gave them new languages. These were complete languages, as complex as whatever they spoke previously. Since then languages have been built up by our creative invention of new words as people learned new things and explored the world, which required new descriptions that had never existed e.g. Radar.
If scientists really want to understand where human language came from they should stop studying apes, and start studying the real history of the world as revealed in God’s Word. (Ref. linguistics, communication, anthropology)
Evidence News vol. 16, No. 6
13 April 2016
Creation Research Australia