Humans share elements of a common language with other apes, understanding many gestures that wild chimps and bonobos use to communicate.
It suggests the last common ancestor we shared with chimps used similar gestures, and that these may have been a "starting point" for our language.
Lead researcher, Dr Kirsty Graham from St Andrews University explained that this gesture-based way of communicating is shared by other species of great apes, including gorillas and orangutans.
"So we already had a suspicion that this was a shared gesturing ability that might have been present in our last shared ancestor.
"We're quite confident now that our ancestors would have started off gesturing, and that this was co-opted into [our] language."
This study was part of an ongoing scientific mission to understand this language origin story by carefully studying communication in our closest ape cousins.