Corballis, M. C. (2009). The evolution of language, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1156(1), 19-43.
[Abstract]Language, whether spoken or signed, can be viewed as a gestural system, evolving from the so-called mirror system in the primate brain. In nonhuman primates the gestural system is well developed for the productions and perception of manual action, especially transitive acts involving the grasping of objects. The emergence of bipedalism in the hominins freed the hands for the adaptation of the mirror system for intransitive acts for communication, initially through the miming of events. With the emergence of the genus Homo from some 2 million years ago, pressures for more complex communication and increased vocabulary size led to the conventionalization of gestures, the loss of iconic representation, and a gradual shift to vocal gestures replacing manual ones—although signed languages are still composed of manual and facial gestures. In parallel with the conventionalization of symbols, languages gained grammatical complexity, perhaps driven by the evolution of episodic memory and mental time travel, which involve combinations of familiar elements—Who did what to whom, when, where, and why? Language is thus adapted to allow us to share episodic structures, whether past, planned, or fictional, and so increase survival fitness.
[Citing Place (2000c)]  
Citing Place (2000c) in context (citations start with an asterisk *):
Section The Gestural Theory
Subsection Modern Developments
* In 1973, the anthropologist Gordon W. Hewes presented the gestural theory in more modern dress. He too drew on evidence from signed languages but made no claim for a universal signed language. He also referred to contemporary work showing that great apes were unable to learn to speak but could use manual gestures in a language-like way, with at least moderate success. Gestural theory languished, though, until the 1990s. The influential article by Pinker and Bloom (1990) had made no mention of Hewes’ work but was followed by an increasing number of publications that picked up the gestural theme (e.g., Arbib 2005; Armstrong 1999; Armstrong et al. 1995; Armstrong & Wilcox 2007; Corballis 1991; 1992, 2002, 2003; Givón 1995; Place 2000; Pollick & de Waal 2007; Rizzolatti & Arbib 1998; Rizzolatti & Sinigaglia 2008; Ruben 2005; Skoyles 2000; Tomasello 2008).