List of Publications

Joanne E. Tanner,
Ph.D. in Evolutionary Psychology
University of St Andrews, Scotland, 1998









Journal articles and book chapters

Byrne, R. W., Cartmill, E., Genty, E., Graham, K. E., Hobaiter, C. & Tanner, J.E. (2017). Great ape gestures: intentional communication with a rich set of innate signals Animal Cognition. DOI: 10.1007/s10071-017-1096-4

Tanner, J. E. & Perlman, M. (2016). Moving beyond 'meaning': Gorillas combine gestures into sequences for creative display. Language & Communication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2016.10.006

Perlman, M., Clark, N. & Tanner, J.E. (2014). Iconicity and ape gesture. In Erica A. Cartmill, Sean Roberts, Heidi Lyn & Hannah Cornish (Eds.) (pp. 236-243) The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference (EVOLANG10). New Jersey: World Scientific.

Perlman, M., Tanner, J. E. & King, B.J. (2012). A mother gorilla's variable use of touch to guide her infant: Insights into iconicity and the relationship beween gesture and action. In S. Pika & K. Liebal (Eds.) Developments in Primate Gesture Research. John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Tanner, Joanne E. & Byrne, Richard W. (2010). Triadic and collaborative play by gorillas in social games with objects. Animal Cognition, 13(4), 591-607.

Tanner, Joanne E., Patterson, Francine G., & Byrne, Richard W. (2006). Development of spontaneous gestures in zoo-living gorillas and sign-taught gorillas: from action and location to object representation. Journal of Developmental Processes, Vol. 1, 69-103.

Byrne, Richard W. & Tanner, Joanne E. (2006). Gestural Imitation by a
Gorilla: Evidence and Nature of the Capacity.
International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, Vol. 6 No. 2, 215-231; special issue on Animal Learning and Cognition, ed. Tom Zentall.

Tanner, Joanne E. (2004). Gestural phrases and exchanges by a pair of zoo-living lowland gorillas. Gesture 4(1), 1-24.

Tanner, Joanne E. & Byrne, Richard W. (1999). The development of spontaneous gestural communication in a group of zoo-living lowland gorillas. In: The Mentalities of Gorillas and Orangutans: Comparative Perspectives, pp. 211-239. Ed. Parker, S.T., Mitchell, R. W., and Miles, H. Lyn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Tanner, Joanne E. (1998). Gestural Communication in a Group of Zoo-Living Lowland Gorillas. Doctoral Dissertation, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

Tanner, Joanne E. & Byrne, Richard W. (1996). Representation of action through iconic gesture in a captive lowland gorilla. Current Anthropology, 37(1), 162-173.

Tanner, Joanne E. & Byrne, Richard W. (1993). Concealing facial evidence of mood: perspective-taking in a captive gorilla? Primates, 34(4), 451-457.

Patterson, F., Tanner, J., and Mayer, N. (1988). Pragmatic Analysis of Gorilla Utterances: Early Communicative Development in the Gorilla Koko. Journal of Pragmatics, 12 (1), 35-55.

Book reviews and commentaries

Tanner, J. (2008). Comment on Arbib, M., Liebal, K., and Pika S., Primate Vocalization, Gesture, and the Evolution of Human Language. Current Anthropology, Vol. 49:6, p. 1067.

Tanner, J. (2007). Book review of Burling, R., 2005, The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved, Oxford U. Press, Oxford. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 132:319-20.

Related Material

Kendon, Adam (2008). Book review of Call, J. and Tomasello, M., eds. (2007), The Gestural Communication of Apes and Monkeys. Mahwah, New Jersey and London: Lawrence Erlbaum.Gesture 8:3 (2008), 375-385.

Draiss, Jennifer (2009). Facial expression and its relation to gesture in Western Lowland Gorillas. Young Naturalist Awards by the American Museum of Natural History, winning essay.

Draiss, Jennifer (2008). Gestural communication by a group of Western Lowland Gorillas. Young Naturalist Awards by the American Museum of Natural History, winning essay.

Joanne Tanner, Jennifer Drias and Marcus Perlman at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Reno Nevada, May 2009

Joanne Tanner, Jennifer Draiss and Marcus Perlman

at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Reno Nevada, May 2009.


- Dr. Joanne Tanner

- Charles Ernest



SF Zoo Gorillas

Gorilla Gestures Intro


- Why Create Gestures

- Tactile

- Visual

- Audible

- Iconic

- Imitation

- Phrases/Exchanges

- Other Zoos

- Gesture Table

- Triadic Play Intro

- Triadic Play Research


Copyright 2010 Tanner and Ernest Productions. All rights reserved.