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The LANA project

In the early 1970s Ernst von Glasersfeld started a collaboration with the primatologists Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Duane Rumbaugh at the National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. Together with Piero Pisani Glasersfeld he developed Yerkish, a language for use by non-human primates. The chimpanzee Lana was taught to communicate by means of a keyboard with keys labeled with so called “lexigrams”, a term for the Yerkish symbols coined by Glasersfeld in 1971. Glasersfeld created 120 lexigrams together with the Yerkish grammar.

The research project caused a lot of attention, in Glasersfeld’s Nachlass is an extensive collection of international press reports.

selection of international press reports on the LANA project (pdf)