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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How did Neanderthals talk?

Theories, theories, theories ... But I find it fascinating to think about such subjects as where and when language began and if we only stick to the known facts, we will never progress our knowledge. So, take a look at this:

"Right-hand dominance is the latest in a growing list of evidence that Neanderthals had language. In 2008 the French archeologist Francisco D’Errico hypothesized that Neanderthals had language based on artifacts related to symbolic meaning, such as body paint, beads and other decorative materials. In addition, the only bone in the vocal tract, the hyoid, in Neanderthals and in early Homo sapiens is strikingly similar, especially in contrast to the vocal tracts of the great apes, our other cousins. Great apes have an air sac that produces a huge booming sound, but not articulation. Neanderthals and modern humans do not have an air sac. The hypothesis is that the sac diminished as survival became dependent on what was said, not how loud it was said."

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