When the chimpanzee pauses for a moment to recover breathing, these pauses, if extended, may become rests in the sense intended in written music. (I mentioned one such in the observation of Rah and Nkosi play-chasing – 07 September 2007, video-recorded observation, edited DVD, Singapore, pages 179-180.) Once more, we see the developmental pattern in which a natural action becomes used for its structural possibilities. In this case, the inevitable consequence of exertion – the taking of a breath – is transformed by a switch in mental orientation and inserted as a timed interval within a pattern of action. Pauses or rests can be made shorter or longer, their duration partly dependent on the energy expended but also strongly infl uenced by the chimpanzees’ use and perception of the dynamic-structure in itself. Still based upon respiratory rhythms, sometimes a rest is extended within a play-assembly over many seconds or even several minutes. This I learnt to differentiate from a pause or rest and I term a hold. Armstrong et al. (1995), when
discussing the grammatical structure of sign-language, defi ne a ‘hold’ as a brief period of time whilst everything is in stasis. When I fi rst saw a ‘hold’ in chimpanzee play I simply assumed the play episode had fi nished. One player and then the other (or others) suddenly stopped. But the play was not yet over and just as suddenly it resumed, exactly where it left off, the players awakened as if from a sudden slumber. The spell broken, the play is picked up again from where it left off. Sometimes the chimpanzees will just sit still while the play is put on-hold and seem to ignore each other completely. On other occasions they will start to engage in a completely different and non-play activity. A basic one is to stop to eat but there are many variations, including self-grooming or appearing to be engrossed in microscopic investigation of some small feature of the environment. This is all feigning. Even if the chimpanzee is really stopping for a meal-break, or even if he or she has indeed genuinely encountered something of interest, he or she will still have half a mind on the play and its anticipated continuance. Of relevance here is that although they are capable of sequential thought (as evidenced by the acquisition of sign language in a few of their kind) they are not stuck in this mode and appear to be able to think about several things at the same time (Fouts, 1997). Playepisodes are stories which may be stopped and resumed at various points in the action. My studies are not detailed enough to tell whether such ‘holds’ might be maintained over a period of hours or even days but I suspect this might happen. After all, we have seen that the chimpanzee has a knowledge of time, a good memory and, if they do possess autonoetic consciousness, are able perhaps to distinguish between real events and imagined ones. Of additional interest to us is that with experience and sensitivity, human interaction (in speech or action) may be inserted appropriately into briefer pauses within the structure of their action patterns and they, the chimpanzees, reciprocate. That, with regular meetings with a friendly human, other wild animals seem to do this too (for example, the English grey squirrel – sometimes referred to as ‘Spanish squirrel’ – and the London crow) perhaps points to a general condition across species as well as telling us something about predispositions toward, or, at least precursors of, language. In turn, this has important implications for our interaction with our own, human children.