Two experiments were conducted to assess the referential function of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
gestures to obtain food. The chimpanzees received 1 trial per condition. In Experiment 1 (N 101), in
full view of the chimpanzee, a banana was placed on top of 1 of 2 inverted buckets or was hidden
underneath 1 of the buckets. In Experiment 2 (N 35), 4 conditions were presented in constant order:
(a) no food, no observer; (b) no food, observer present; (c) food present, no observer; and (d) food
present, observer present. Gestures and visual orienting were used socially and referentially. The capacity
for nonverbal reference may predate the Hominidae–Pongidae split, and the development of nonverbal
reference may be independent of human species-specific adaptations for speech.