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Are “Hello” and “Goodbye” Unique to Humans?

Communication is a human hallmark, but are "Hello" and "Goodbye" uniquely ours? Animals also exchange greetings and farewells, though not with words. Whales sing, wolves howl, and primates groom each other. Our verbal salutations are part of a complex language system, setting us apart. How do these rituals compare across the animal kingdom? Join us as we examine the parallels.

People say "hello" and "goodbye" in countless languages and ways, but they aren't alone in those greetings. Researchers believe they have detected similar behavior in bonobos and chimpanzees, who tend to signal when play and grooming sessions begin and end.

Raphaela Heesen, a postdoctoral researcher at Durham University in the United Kingdom, said she became interested when she noticed bonobos repeat a gesture when one of their meetings was interrupted. Her research group studied more than 1,200 interactions and found that bonobos used "hello" and "goodbye" greetings at least 90 percent of the time, and chimps only slightly less often. These brief greetings usually involve eye contact or touch, including head-butting and holding hands.

"Behavior doesn’t fossilize," Heesen said in a statement. "You can’t dig up bones to look at how behavior has evolved. But you can study our closest living relatives: great apes like chimpanzees and bonobos."

You say "hello"...

  • The word "hello" wasn't used as a greeting until after the telephone was invented. Before that, it was used only to get someone's attention.

  • "Aloha" means not only "hello" and "goodbye" in Hawaiian, but also has implications of love, peace, and compassion.

  • November 21 is annual "World Hello Day." It is meant to celebrate peace and communication among all people.

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    • Both bonobos and chimpanzees appear to have specific greetings to signal the start and end of social interactions.
      By: joiseyshowaa
      Both bonobos and chimpanzees appear to have specific greetings to signal the start and end of social interactions.