Orangutans act out meaning in a behavior that was previously thought to be uniquely human.
Orangutans pantomime in order to communicate with humans and other apes.
The mini charade-like displays feature characteristics of language.
Other great apes, such as gorillas and chimpanzees, also pantomime.
Orangutans, of their own volition, act out incredibly detailed scenarios with their bodies, using the pantomime to communicate with humans and other apes, according to a new study.
The study, published in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, adds to the growing body of evidence that orangutan mini charade-like displays feature characteristics of language and reveal just how creative, intelligent and manipulative these great apes can be.
Orangutans "show abilities that are considered by some to be important in the evolution of language and that, to this point, have been considered uniquely human," co-author Anne Russon told Discovery News.
"Of course what orangutans do isn't up to Marcel Marceau, but they can certainly fake their own bodily signals, the essence of pantomime, and that opens up a much richer world of communication than we have believed possible," added Russon, a Glendon College professor of psychology.