Several years ago Koko the gorilla amazed scientists and the public by apparently learning enough of the rudiments of the English language to communicate simple thoughts. Now, studies on wild vervet monkeys suggest that Koko's achievement might be nothing more than a normal, God-given ability.
Anthropologists from UCLA report that wild vervet monkey communication shows much more language development than scientists ever expected. It took years of study in the wild before anthropologists began to hear subtle differences in the grunts and screeches offered by the monkeys. They confirmed these differences by recording the different sounds and the actions that went with the sounds. Then they analyzed the sounds electronically and found that there was indeed a pattern of differences in the sounds that corresponds to specific actions.
Anthropologists then set up their sound equipment in the monkeys' home territory to test their interpretation of the sounds. When the grunt that researchers thought meant "open plain" was played, monkey listeners looked out toward the open plain. Likewise, when the "other group" grunt was played, the monkeys searched the open plain even more carefully. The scientists had discovered that they had successfully understood two other monkey phrases as well.
These vervet monkeys teach us that language is not the evolutionary development of early humans, but a gift from God, the Author of language.