Bonobos are already known to use head-shaking to initiate interactions with other members of the group, such as playing.
However, this is the first study to film and observe an ape shaking its head in a negative context to stop or prevent other bonobo behaviour. [...]
The Germany-based scientists observed the behaviour whilst studying bonobos as part of wider study on the communication of great ape infants. Using video recordings they studied the gestures and behaviour of bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans in six European zoos.
During the study, they witnessed four individual bonobos shaking their heads in this way on 13 different occasions.
Previously only anecdotal reports have noted individual chimpanzees shaking their head to signal 'no'.
Is shaking one's head to mean "no" solely a human gesture? Perhaps not. This film from the BBC shows a mother Bonobo ape shaking her head at her rascal child to stop it playing with it's food.
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