Bonobo apes found to make sounds like human babies

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Bonobo Apes Found To Make Sounds Like Human Babies

Human babies may not be the only species in the animal kingdom to babble.

According to a new study, bonobos, which are humans' closest primate relatives, communicate through high-pitched sounds that resemble the squeals of infants before they can form words.

Peeps are what the researchers have named these calls which tend to be made with closed mouths in short bursts.

Bonobos are recognized as the first animals besides humans to utter these sounds. They can be applied to a variety of situations and emotions, giving them functional flexibility over fixed expressions, like crying when upset or laughing when happy.

However, a practical component does seem to be involved, as the noises were noticeably different in acoustics between negative situations and positive or neutral ones.

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Bonobo apes found to make sounds like human babies
A three-days old bonobo baby sleeps on the belly of its mother Kutu in the zoo in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Six month old male bonobo baby Yaro (Pan paniscus) relaxes at the zoo in Leipzig, central Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Bonobo baby Sambo looks into the camera in the zoo of Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. The male chimpanzee baby was born on January 7 and had to be raised by hand. During the next days the baby will meet with his fellow species in the zoo. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Three weeks old Bonobo baby Luebo is ruffled by his mother Lisala in a zoo in Wuppertal, Germany, Friday, April 7, 2006. There are only 160 pygmy chimpanzees in zoos in Europe and North America. In their habitat in central Africa, Bonobos are threatened with extinction, being thought to be the rarest of all the great ape species. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
An infant bonobo looks on while substitute mothers Marthe Mianda, left, and Michelline Mzozi, right, spend time with baby bonobos at the Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary around fifty kilometers outside of Kinshasa, Congo in this Saturday, April 30, 2005 file photo. Congo announced the week of November, 12, 2007 the creation of a massive rainforest reserve to help protect the endangered bonobo, a great ape that is the most closely related to humans and which is found only in the Central African country. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)
A group of Bonobo stand around behind an electric fence at the Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary around fifty kilometers outside of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, April. 30, 2005. This Sanctuary currently have 41 orphan Bonobos in their care. This endangered species, which is only found in the humid forests of the Congo, are under serious threat of extinction due to the rife bush meat trade in the area. The estimated population of the bonobo is less than 10,000. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
Bonobo baby Kasai climbs in the Zoo in Leipzig, Germany, on November 27, 2013. The baby was born in January. (Photo by Hendrik Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
A bonobo looks through a window on April 23, 2013 at the Wilhelma zoo in Stuttgart, southern Germany. The bonobos of the zoo just have moved to a new indoor enclosure. In the wild, the great apes live in the Congo Basin in Africa. (Photo by FRANZISKA KRAUFMANN/AFP/Getty Images)
In This file picture taken on November 4, 2006 in the 'Lola ya bonobo' parc near Kinshasa young bonobo's play together. Scientists said on June 13, 2012 that they have cracked the genetic code of the bonobo and found the ape had some DNA encryption more in common with humans than even its closest relative, the chimpanzee. The bonobo is the last of the so-called great apes to have its genome sequenced, after those of chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. The data, which scientists hope will help shed more light on the lineage of humans, was obtained from Ulindi, a female bonobo at Leipzig zoo. AFP PHOTO/ ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/GettyImages)
Kanzi, 31, eats from the pan on November 11, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa. It was a pivotal moment in history that separated man from other primates. Over a million years ago humankind began to conquer its fear of fire and use it as a tool. But now one special ape - a 31-year-old bonobo chimpanzee called Kanzi at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa - is showing us just how close we really are. Astonishingly the male chimp's favourite things to do is make campfires. With impressive dexterity 12 stone (170lb) Kanzi collects firewood and breaks it into appropriate sizes. He arranges the sticks in a pile, ignites them with matches or a lighter, and then watches the flames take hold. Then Kanzi erects a grill over his fire so he can cook burgers and marshmallows over it, using a frying pan. According to Dr Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, his main handler and the only scientist ever to conduct language research with bonobos, he does it all because it fascinates him. Watching Kanzi make fire is particularly interesting to scientists at the facility - a world-class research centre dedicated to studying the behaviour and intelligence of great apes - because they are investigating the big cultural events that led to differences between humans and other primates. Because we share 99.5% genes with bonobos - our closest relatives - Dr Savage-Rumbaugh argues our differences are mainly cultural. (PHOTOGRAPH BY Laurentiu Garofeanu/ Barcroft USA /Barcoft Media via Getty Images)
A Bonobo at Frankfurt Zoo in Frankfurt, Germany. A photographer has fought through debilitating pain to capture these intimate portraits of great apes. German photographer Volker Gutgessell has spent the last four years visiting Frankfurt Zoo capturing these incredibly sensitive images of bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. Standing patiently for several hours a day, the 58-year-old has documented the behaviours and expressions of his subjects - despite at every moment suffering chronic back pain caused by a severe slipped disc. Then in 2007 Volker developed tinnitus as a result of his injury, causing a constant ringing in his ears. But despite his condition, he has found a way of communicating through his pictures - and even picks up on the body language of his ape 'models' while shooting them. (Photo by Animal Press / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
Three-months old baby bonobo Nakarla (L) plays with its mother Ukela on March 19, 2008 at the zoo in Frankfurt/M. The endangered species of bonobos is found in the wild only in tropical rain forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/AFP/Getty Images)
Germany Berlin - Berlin zoo: newborn Bonobo (Pan paniscus) Likembam with his mother Opala (Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo: This picture taken 04 November 2006 in the 'Lola ya bonobo' parc near Kinshasa shows bonobos. Bonobos live only in the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC). Bonobos were last great ape species to be discovered, and could be the first to go extinct. (Photo by Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images)
A Bonobo (Pan paniscus)21 May 2000 at the Bonobo sanctuary of Kinshasa. The bonobo, also known as the pygmy chimpanzee, is a rare species threatened with extinction by deforestation and human proximity, and only live in a smll area in the primary forest on the Congo river. (Photo credit should read DESIREY MINKOH/AFP/Getty Images)
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The team believes these sounds could be one phase of an evolutionary shift from contextually specific utterances to the broader language humans use.

The research findings were based on observations of approximately 39 wild bonobos in their native Congo.

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Young Bonobos Console Other Upset Peers
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