Eviatar Nevo Ph.D, Itai Roffman 


smaba6Western Chimpanzees in Mali by Dr Itai Roffman 11







Nonverbal communication of chimpanzee in extreme climatic conditions as a strategy of survival.


Dr. Gili Peleg

The Chimpanzees in Mali are isolated and endemic population. Their habitat of extreme climatic conditions is bordering the Sahel desert that characterized with low resources availability and extreme hot temperature ranging up to 49°.

This population has probably special survival strategies that enable to live under these stress conditions.

These strategies are probably expressed, among all, in a special nonverbal communication.

My study aims to identify and define the different parameters of nonverbal communication, that are typical to Chimpanzees living in extreme conditions, comparing to those of chimpanzees living in moderate ones (such as jungles, zoos, and sanctuaries in different countries).

The elements of nonverbal communication that will be studied are: body language, facial expressions, and voice.

I assume that nonverbal communication survival strategies of Mali’s chimpanzee bordering the Sahel will be more sophisticated and accurate than those of other chimpanzees.

This study will:

  1. Shed light on the evolution of nonverbal communication in early hominin/homo when moving from humid forest to arid savanna 2-4 million years ago.
  2. Enable to construct a lexicon for Pan nonverbal communication, and promote the development of a human-chimpanzees dialog across all their range.
  3. Open a channel to both pan and human’s therapy and rehabilitation in certain conditions by recognizing the similarities in nonverbal communication of human and chimpanzees.
  4. Enable to identify the genes that are involved in the creation of body language, facial expression, voice, and in their perception.

Identifying of the genes associated with facial expression & perception can also lead to diagnosis of various syndromes (autism, Mobius, Tourette, Rett, etc.), which include, among all, lack of facial expression &/or perception.

Early diagnosis (in pregnancy) will prevent delay in the development of non verbal communication skills during a critical period of time.

It is very possible that the identification of these genes could even contribute to gene therapy.

Thus, it will be possible to prevent the social isolation of large populations (which have different syndromes, as detailed), who find it difficult to create a social connection because of a failure to create facial expressions and / or perceptions.