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The study, reported in the journal Frontiers in Language Sciences, pushes back the origins of modern language by a factor of ten – from the often-cited 50,000 years to 500,000 – 1,000,000 years ago – somewhere between the origins of our genus, Homo, some 1.8 million years ago, and the emergence of Homo heidelbergensis.
This reassessment of the evidence goes against a scenario where a single catastrophic mutation in a single individual would suddenly give rise to language, and suggests that a gradual accumulation of biological and cultural innovations is much more plausible.
Chimpanzees make tools and use them to acquire foods and for social displays; they have sophisticated hunting strategies requiring cooperation, influence and rank; they are status conscious, manipulative and capable of deception; they can learn to use symbols and understand aspects of human language including some relational syntax, concepts of number and numerical sequence; and they are capable of spontaneous planning for a future state or event
The modeling of human language in animals is known as animal language research. Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee, was successfully taught 125 signs during his life, though some disagree on whether this can be constituted as true language. There have been other, more successful animal language projects, such as Kanzi and Koko, as well as some parrots
Fitch, W. Tecumseh.
Studies of the biology of music (as of language) are highly interdisciplinary and demand the integration of diverse strands of evidence. In this paper, I present a comparative perspective on the biology and evolution of music, stressing the value of comparisons both with human language, and with those animal communication systems traditionally termed ‘‘song’’. A comparison of the ‘‘design features’’ of music with those of language reveals substantial overlap, along with some important differences. Most of these differences appear to stem from semantic, rather than structural, factors, suggesting a shared formal core of music and language. I next review various animal communication systems that appear related to human music, either by analogy (bird and whale ‘‘song’’) or potential homology (great ape bimanual drumming). A crucial comparative distinction is between learned, complex signals (like language, music and birdsong) and unlearned signals (like laughter, ape calls, or bird calls). While human vocalizations clearly build upon an acoustic and emotional foundation shared with other primates and mammals, vocal learning has evolved independently in our species since our divergence with chimpanzees. The convergent evolution of vocal learning in other species offers a powerful window into psychological and neural constraints influencing the evolution of complex signaling systems (including both song and speech), while ape drumming presents a fascinating potential homology with human instrumental music. I next discuss the archeological data relevant to music evolution, concluding on the basis of prehistoric bone flutes that instrumental music is at least 40,000 years old, and perhaps much older. I end with a brief review of adaptive functions proposed for music, concluding that no one selective force (e.g., sexual selection) is adequate to explaining all aspects of human music. I suggest that questions about the past function of music are unlikely to be answered definitively and are thus a poor choice as a research focus for biomusicology. In contrast, a comparative approach to music promises rich dividends for our future understanding of the biology and evolution of music.
Polysynthetic languages are ubiquitous in the New World and rare in the Old World. In the Old World polysynthetic languages are found mostly in Papua New Guinea and the Caucasus – the two regions characterized just like the New World by extensive linguistic diversity. So, while Grauer describes most of the New World as dominated by solo and unison musical traditions, which are significantly removed from the presumably original Pygmy-Bushmen style (“canonic-echoic” being a rare exception), linguistically American Indians seem to be the closest to the musical stage in the evolution of human communication. This is all assuming Musical Protolanguage theory is correct
Originally posted by 727Sky
I have a little experience in Asia and some of the languages around here are tonal...Which means one simple word can have 9 different meanings (mandarin) or 5 different meaning (Thai) Context kind of makes a different but it is as though they ran out of words and started using descending, flat, rising, rising and falling, and falling tones for the same words...both are very old languages or parts of older languages. Over the last 40 years the Thai language has changed with the times. It used to be a softer language than it is today.. No doubt due to T.V. and everyone trying to make a buck (Baht) has had an effect...Then you add in the slang that has become a normal vocabulary...language is a thing that grows and changes over time... unless it is a dead language...
Originally posted by biggmoneyme
why anyone still takes modern physicists and historians seriously is beyond my insight.
Originally posted by Ubei2
Our modern language, in order to be such, can only be vocalized by the proper voice box. The latter has only been found in our species, the homo sapience. Any animal can voice guttural sounds - they do have various and different communication ways, but that does not make it a language, as the spoken or written word are. Even our so called predecessors did not have the exact same voice box as we do. They, the mainstream science, are still struggling to find "the missing link."
I have always wondered, as the so-called evolution goes, how one species, namely ours, "evolves" from the known humanoid predecessors and yet is weaker physically (bone and muscle constitution being less strong), has 46 chromosomes instead of 48 that the predecessors have, has far less body hair and has the voice box appropriate for language as we know it today.
In most cases it feels to me that modern science is a huge fictional theme park where we dwelve clueless just because we have already paid the ticket to be there.