Evidence for Symbolic Language Processing in a Bonobo

Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (12):33-56 (2002)

Jonathan Benson
Richard Stockton University
Evidence that an animal is capable of some degree of symbolic, human language processing supports the argument that the animal's consciousness is to some degree human-like. In this paper, we reinterpret the findings of Savage- Rumbaugh et al. using the twin tools of Deacon's referential hierarchy and Systemic Functional Linguistics, with a view to providing further corroborative evidence for a Bonobo ape's symbolic processing abilities, and as a result to open a window into the consciousness of at least one non-human primate.
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