Note: Sound has been deleted from most video clips because of distracting noise from zoo visitors.
In the examples for each gesture, you will rarely see only the particular gesture illustrated. Rather, you will see streams of different gestures and variable forms of any one gesture.

Gesture w/ Video Gesture Description Mode of Reception: functional usage
armshake Highly variable in form (from a few flicks of a hand to a large motion with both arms), armshake was performed frequently by both Kubie and Zura, but in highest number by Zura; it was her most frequent gesture. Barney also adopted armshake as a youngster, but it was not performed by any other gorillas in the group. Armshake for Kubie had high rates of visual attention from the partner gorilla, resultant play contact, and accompanying playface. It was sometimes performed simultaneously by both gorillas and seemed to reflect agreement upon play. Though usually a prelude to activity in play, armshake for Zura also had other uses; reflecting the onset of aggressive action on the part of other gorillas, or as part of her agonistic displays to others. Visual: Attention Getter, Motion Depiction
armswing under Armswing under was performed almost exclusively by Kubie. It had the highest rates of visual attention from the partner gorilla, resultant play contact, and  accompanying playface, of any of his gestures. Armswing under moves from a touch on, or reach toward, the partner gorilla's body, back to the area between the gesturing gorilla's legs. It is often combined with tap other and head nod. It draws a motion path from the play partner to the gesturer and seems to say "you come here (to me)." Visual: Motion Depiction
away Arm motion performed in space directed toward but not touching another gorilla. Indicates a desire for other gorilla to move away. Visual: Motion Depiction, Negative
bite Actual biting of the side of own finger or hand. Often preceded or followed biting play. Bite can also be used as an inhibition of real biting; this use has been observed in other captive gorillas and in the wild. Visual: Motion Depiction
body beat The chestbeating motion transferred to a different area of the body- shoulders, legs, stomach, was quite frequent. Visual, Audible: Attention Getter
chest pat Kubie’s gesture, quite distinct from chest beating: a holding of the hand in contact with the chest making a gentle patting motion, directing attention to the gorilla’s body. Chest pat had high accompanying visual attention and subsequent play contact, though a low percent of playfaces. Gorilla keepers reported that Kubie’s father Bwana for many years made this gesture when requesting food; however for Kubie it was only observed in a social play context. Visual: Attention Getter, Indicator
chestbeat An innate physical motion for all gorillas, chestbeating nevertheless has many different usages. It can be part of an aggressive display or simply a playful release of energy. For Kubie chestbeating was never accompanied by a playface and almost never resulted in contact play soon after. It was often performed at a distance from another gorilla, but in the majority of cases served to direct attention of another gorilla to the chestbeating gorilla or to result in the other gorilla changing its direction of locomotion. Audible: Attention Getter
clap Just like human clapping, gorillas clap in many different contexts. All the gorillas except the oldest, Pogo and Bwana, clapped frequently. Clapping can be an attention getter, but was also used in some different ways, particularly by young Barney, who clapped more than anyone else. He would often clap before or after performing some new or challenging action, as if it were a warm-up to prepare or focus himself, or an announcement of success. Clapping was also often exchanged between gorillas. Audible: Attention Getter
come The extended palm, “come,” is often called a begging gesture, but it was used only socially in our observations and not in association with food. Both gorillas used this gesture; in about half the cases, the other gorilla moved toward the gesturer; in one case, the gesturer subsequently pulled the other gorilla closer. Visual: Motion Depiction
down A flinging downward in space of an arm, sometimes from overhead. Anticipates downward movement by self or other. Visual: Motion Depiction
head nod Head nod was performed by Kubie only, and was the most frequent of all his gestures. It was performed with a high rate of visual attention from the partner gorilla and was followed by a high level of play contact. This action directed Kubie’s own gaze to himself and thus also the partner’s gaze. Head nod was often performed when Kubie was quadrupedal, or was combined with other gestures; in both circumstances, he was using his hands for something else, and head motion was an available way to send a message. Visual: Attention Getter, Motion Depiction
hide playface Hide playface was Zura’s gesture exclusively. She would cover her mouth with one or both hands, and when she did this a playface was visible beneath, or present before she covered it. A study of 24 instances of hide playface showed that it was usually followed by no play, or the cessation of play, and that it was understood by her play partner Kubie, who would in most cases not approach. Visual: Negative
knock A fist hitting an object in the environment was often an attention getter directed toward another gorilla. Sometimes knock was followed by waiting for a response from another gorilla, who would often approach, sometimes going to the area where the knock was targeted. Knock was performed mostly by Kubie. Audible: Attention Getter, Indicator
pat off Similar to tap other, this gesture was performed in a distinctive way, holding the gesture briefly with a slight push away and then quickly removing the hand. It often ended rounds of play. Visual, Tactile: Negative
slap A slap on a surface was a frequent gesture of Zura, and in later periods, the favorite gesture of young Shango. It often functioned as a “start” or “go” signal for play. Audible: Attention Getter, Indicator
tactile gestures See tactile gestures page. Tactile: Motion Depiction
tap other A brief contact by knuckles or fingers of the gorilla’s hand with another gorilla, and then pulling back; not a forceful or “hitting” action. It was another gesture with relatively high accompanying visual attention and subsequent play contact. It seemed to serve to notify the other gorilla that it was the object of further action. A variation was pat off, performed with a distinctive “up and off” motion, that often ended rounds of play; it was catalogued separately. Visual, Tactile: Attention Getter, Indicator
wrist glance Just like a human glancing at a watch, this movement was associated with delay of action. This was Zura’s gesture; she would also sometimes drum her fingers, another familiar action also seen in humans. Visual: Negative

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