Kirsty Emma Graham

Kirsty Emma Graham
University of St Andrews · School of Psychology and Neuroscience

PhD, BLAS

About

28
Publications
4,581
Reads
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321
Citations
Introduction
My PhD research, supervised by Richard Byrne, catalogues the full gestural repertoire of wild bonobos, examines the meaning of gestures, and looks for ways that bonobos modify gesture meanings. Understanding meanings or ambiguity of meanings for wild bonobo gestural communication may provide insights into the evolution of our own complex communication system.
Additional affiliations
September 2016 - present
University of St Andrews
Position
  • PhD Student
Description
  • During my PhD, I have spent two 6-month field seasons as Wamba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, collecting data on gestural communication of wild bonobos.
September 2016 - November 2016
Kyoto University
Position
  • Researcher & Camp Manager
Description
  • Conducted a short study to compare bonobos with wild chimpanzees at Kalinzu, using directly comparable methods to my PhD research. Acted as camp manager during 3-month stay.
September 2012 - March 2013
Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
Position
  • Field Assistant
Description
  • I worked for 6 months as a field assistant for Simone Pika and Paul Kuchenbuch, collecting data on wild bonobos at Wamba, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Publications

Publications (28)
Article
Opinion piece: ape gestures are made intentionally, inviting parallels with human language; but how similar are their gestures to words? Here we ask this in three ways, considering: flexibility and ambiguity, first- and second-order intentionality, and usage in interactive exchanges. Many gestures are used to achieve several, often very distinct, g...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last 30 years, most research on non-human primate gestural communication has been produced by psychologists, which has shaped the questions asked and the methods used. These researchers have drawn on concepts from philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and ethology, but despite these broad influences the field has neglected to situate gest...
Article
In most languages, individual words can be ambiguous between several different meanings, but through syntax and context the intended meaning of an ambiguous word usually becomes apparent. Many great ape gestures also have ambiguous meanings, which poses the problem of how individuals can interpret the signaller’s intended meaning in specific instan...
Article
Despite important similarities having been found between human and animal communication systems, surprisingly little research effort has focussed on whether the cognitive mechanisms underpinning these behaviours are also similar. In particular, it is highly debated whether signal production is the result of reflexive processes, or can be characteri...
Article
Full-text available
Cross-species comparison of great ape gesturing has so far been limited to the physical form of gestures in the repertoire, without questioning whether gestures share the same meanings. Researchers have recently catalogued the meanings of chimpanzee gestures, but little is known about the gesture meanings of our other closest living relative, the b...
Data
R code for randomisation procedure. (R)
Data
Values for Fig 1. By gesture type, the ASOs achieved and the number and proportion of instances that each ASO is achieved, ordered by the proportion for which the primary ASO is achieved (largest to smallest). (DOCX)
Data
Individuals contributing data for ASO analysis. Number of individuals in each age and sex category that contributed data to analysis of ASOs for wild bonobos. (DOCX)
Data
Raw data and matrices for bonobo and chimpanzee gesture meanings. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
Great apes give gestures deliberately and voluntarily, in order to influence particular target audiences, whose direction of attention they take into account when choosing which type of gesture to use. These facts make the study of ape gesture directly relevant to understanding the evolutionary precursors of human language; here we present an asses...
Article
Full-text available
Great apes give gestures deliberately and voluntarily, in order to influence particular target audiences, whose direction of attention they take into account when choosing which type of gesture to use. These facts make the study of ape gesture directly relevant to understanding the evolutionary precursors of human language; here we present an asses...
Article
Full-text available
In animal communication, signallers and recipients are typically different: each signal is given by one subset of individuals (members of the same age, sex, or social rank) and directed towards another. However, there is scope for signaller–recipient interchangeability in systems where most signals are potentially relevant to all age–sex groups, su...
Article
Full-text available
Some scientists have suggested that, among Hominidae, prolonged postmenopausal longevity evolved uniquely in humans [1], while others disagree [2]. There have, however, been few empirical studies on how physiological aging and somatic durability in humans compare to our closest relatives — chimpanzees and bonobos [3]. If prolonged lifespan is selec...
Article
Full-text available
Maternal cannibalism, whereby a mother consumes her own offspring, occurs in various animal taxa and is commonly explained by nutritional stress or environmental pressures. It is rare in nonhuman primates and is considered an aberrant behavior only observed under high-stress conditions. It was therefore surprising when, in the first reported case o...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Research on great ape gestural communication has hitherto prioritised the signaller, focusing on the expressed repertoire, the set of gesture types that an individual deploys. In this study of wild bonobos (Pan paniscus), we also examine the understood repertoire, the set of gesture types that a recipient understands: a recipient understands a gest...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Presbyopia, or long-sightedness, is one of the signs of senescence in humans. Many people first recognize it when they approach 40-years-old, though presbyopia progresses gradually with age. Not surprisingly, presbyopia has been reported in old, wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) at Bossou (Guinea) and Mahale (Tanzania). Bonobos are one of our clos...
Preprint
Full-text available
Presbyopia, or long-sightedness, is one of the signs of senescence in humans. Many people first recognize it when they approach 40-years-old, though presbyopia progresses gradually with age. Not surprisingly, presbyopia has been reported in old, wild chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes ) at Bossou (Guinea) and Mahale (Tanzania). Bonobos are one of our cl...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research on great ape gestural communication has hitherto prioritised the signaller, focusing on the expressed repertoire, the set of gesture types that an individual deploys. In this study of wild bonobos ( Pan paniscus ), we also examine the understood repertoire, the set of gesture types that a recipient understands: a recipient understands a ge...
Article
Full-text available
Morphology and ecology of Sibon snakes (Squamata: Dipsadidae) from two forests in Central America. Physical measurements, abundance, and ecological observations were recorded for Sibon annulatus, S. argus, S. longifrenis, and S. nebulatus at two Neotropical habitats: a lowland swamp forest in Costa Rica and a montane cloud forest in Panama. Fourty-...
Article
Full-text available
Morphology and ecology of Sibon snakes (Squamata: Dipsadidae) from two forests in Central America. Physical measurements, abundance, and ecological observations were recorded for Sibon annulatus, S. argus, S. longifrenis, and S. nebulatus at two Neotropical habitats: a lowland swamp forest in Costa Rica and a montane cloud forest in Panama. Fourty-...
Article
Full-text available
Primates are predominantly distributed across tropical regions, many of which are threatened by deforestation. Removal of mature trees can harm primate populations by reducing available food resources. Understanding the dietary requirements of primates at local levels can help identify key habitats to conserve, and protect plant species on which pr...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
We are looking at various early life experiences of infants in samples from the UK and Uganda, and seeing if they predict performance on a Joint Attention task at 11 and 15months.
Project
Our research group has been looking at infant development in the UK and Uganda. This project, which was part of my PhD work, looks at the early life environment for infants aged 0 to 15months in both cultures.
Project
Furthering the natural history of herpetofauna present in the region to help inform conservation.