In the first ever functional imaging study of the communicating chimpanzee brain, researchers have found that brain function in grunting and gesturing chimpanzees closely parallels that in actively communicating humans, according to a linkurl:paper; published online today in __Current Biology__. "A set of brain areas were active in the chimps that have also been reported to be active when humans are communicating," William Hopkins, the lead researcher on the paper, told __The Scientist__. This means, said Hopkins, that the roots of human language may lie in the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans. Hopkins, a psychologist at Agnes Scott College in Georgia, and colleagues used PET scans to map areas of activation in the brains of three captive chimps gesticulating and vocalizing towards human caretakers. Regions of the cerebral cortex, including parts of the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), lit up in chimps gesticulating, raspberrying and grunting to signal their desire...

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