Possibly. Researchers from the Universities of Zurich and York found that when a group of chimpanzees from the Beekse Bergen Safari Park in the Netherlands moved in with a group of chimpanzees from Edinburgh Zoo, they changed their food grunts to sound more like their new peers.

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Chimpanzees have special grunts for particular types of foods, and their fellow chimps know exactly what those calls mean. Scientists previously believed that those grunts were fixed within groups, and that chimps (unlike humans) were unable to adapt their language in such a way – but the discovery turns that assumption on its head.

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The food grunts produced by the two groups of chimpanzees converged over the course of three years. For example, the grunt for ‘apple’ used by the Dutch chimps in 2010 was only recognisable within the Dutch group. But by 2013 strong friendships between the groups had been formed, and the grunts had changed so that they were recognisable to everyone. The Dutch chimps had learnt to grunt in Scottish.

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