Dr. Hobaiter also claimed, "The big message [from this study] is that there is another species out there that is meaningful in its communication, so that's not unique to humans." Dare I say, based on a huge amount of detailed data, that individuals of many other species are meaningful in their communication. Along these lines, University of Manchester evolutionary biologist and primate expert, Susanne Shultz, notes, "the meanings seem to not go beyond what other less sophisticated animals convey with non-verbal communication."
We must be very careful about making sweeping generalizations about the cognitive and emotional capacities of other animals. I wrote this corrective essay to bring to light that these sorts of generalizations can be very misleading, especially to an unknowing public who are keenly interested in the cognitive and emotional lives of animals and depend on researchers and media to put out the correct story. Once again, I want to stress that while I see this study of chimpanzee gestures to be very interesting, the data do not at all warrant the claim that chimpanzees are the sole animal members of the "intentional and meaningful communication arena." Clearly, they are not.