London - Children aged one to two years old use many of the same gestures as great apes, research has found.
The study showed that the children used 52 gestures to communicate – more than 95 percent of which are shared with chimpanzees and gorillas.
Scientists observed children at home and in nurseries, as well as chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest in Uganda.
Dr Catherine Hobaiter, of St Andrews university, said: "Chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans all use gestures to communicate day-to-day requests. We thought that we might find a few of these gestures – reaching out your palm to ask for something or sticking your hand up in the air – but we were amazed to see so many of the 'ape' gestures used by the children... Children are just tiny apes."
But the scientists, from St Andrews, Neuchatel university in Switzerland and the German universities of Gottingen and Hamburg, told the journal Animal Cognition that waving a hand to say hello or goodbye was uniquely human.