Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 08:50 GMT, Monday, 28 June 2010 09:50 UK
Orangutans at Durrell contribute to dictionary
Orangutans at Durrell in Jersey
The study looks at how orangutans communicate with each other

The orangutans at the Durrell Wildlife Trust in Jersey are among its most popular residents.

The hairy apes have always been mysterious, switching behaviour from calm to excited in the blink of an eye.

Now some animal behaviour experts have been studying their movements and the sounds they make.

The experts have come up with a type of dictionary to explain what they're thinking and keepers at Durrell were involved in its creation.

Orangutans at Durrell

Experts from St Andrews University spent time at Durrell creating what's being described as the ape dictionary.

The researchers watched the Durrell orangutans closely, trying to work out what their various noises and gestures meant.

The senior keeper at Durrell, Gordon Hunt, told BBC Jersey the research had proved very helpful as it confirmed what they had already seen happening.

Gordon said: "We see anecdotal stuff every day but it is difficult for us to convince people that they are actually talking to each other.

"This is the start of the ape dictionary, what researchers do is confirm what is seen in a scientific manner.

"We see a lot of actions, a lot of gestures and we are anthropomorphising those into what we think they are

"Researchers are statistically analysing these and coming up with pretty much the same theory."

Your E-mail address

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific