Today’s Video of the Day from Binghamton University reveals that Neanderthals possessed the ability to perceive and produce human speech.
“This is one of the most important studies I have been involved in during my career,” said study co-author Professor Rolf Quam. “The results are solid and clearly show the Neanderthals had the capacity to perceive and produce human speech.”
“This is one of the very few current, ongoing research lines relying on fossil evidence to study the evolution of language, a notoriously tricky subject in anthropology.”
The research represents a major step forward in answering a long-standing question in human evolution about the linguistic capacities of Neanderthals, the closest ancestors of modern humans.
“For decades, one of the central questions in human evolutionary studies has been whether the human form of communication, spoken language, was also present in any other species of human ancestor, especially the Neanderthals,” said study co-author Professor Juan Luis Arsuaga of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
The researchers created virtual 3D models of the ear structures in Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, as well as other early humans, to analyze how they may have communicated.
“These results are particularly gratifying,” said study co-author Ignacio Martinez from Universidad de Alcalá. “We believe, after more than a century of research into this question, that we have provided a conclusive answer to the question of Neanderthal speech capacities.”
Video Credit: Binghamton University
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer