Talking Neanderthals challenge the origins of speech

I’ve posted before about how I think that language is very ancient, probably evolving over hundreds of thousands of years, possibly millions.  The evidence for this view continues to mount.  It now looks like there’s stronger evidence that Neanderthals could talk.

We humans like to think of ourselves as unique for many reasons, not least of which being our ability to communicate with words. But ground-breaking research shows that our ‘misunderstood cousins,’ the Neanderthals, may well have spoken in languages not dissimilar to the ones we use today.

via Talking Neanderthals challenge the origins of speech — ScienceDaily.

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6 Responses to Talking Neanderthals challenge the origins of speech

  1. bwcarey says:

    well if birds do it, bees do it, just because we are poor communicators doesn’t mean we cant communicate

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    • synthverity says:

      Alright, I think I understand what you are trying to say. However, I’m going to politely ask that you rewrite your comment without the grammatical errors. If you’re going to make a point, the reader should not have to spend too much time trying to translate what was written.
      That aside, there is a difference between language and communication. Dogs communicate, they do not have a language. Bees communicate, they do not have a language. The difference between the two is the learned aspect. All animals are born with an innate ability to communicate. These are instinctual reactions. Language is a created construct, and must be learned. Human children are not born able to understand their parents languages. It takes quite a while for them to learn it, then to replicate it. It’s also important to look at the difference between how foreign communication is treated. Humans can pick up and understand communication that is foreign to them, including those of other animals. There has been no such case of this happening elsewhere(parrots mimic, they do not understand. This is a key difference).

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  2. synthverity says:

    This doesn’t surprise me. People today have small amounts of Neanderthal DNA, which suggested(very strongly) that Homo Sapiens mated with them. Given that, it’s easy to imagine that they interacted with each other, which includes communication. I just don’t see how this challenges anything.

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    • There has historically been a significant portion of archaeologists and linguists who thought that language was a recent development, developing among homo sapiens just before they left Africa. I suspect that recent evidence like this is shrinking that camp, but there’s still a lot of material out there espousing its view.

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