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Old 07-10-2013, 07:07 PM   #1
MACH1
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Default Neanderthals talked like us half a million years ago

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Neanderthals talked like us half a million years ago and could even have shaped the language we speak today

Origins of modern language are ten times older than thought and could date back half a million years, according to Dutch researchers
It contradicts the popular idea that our modern language began with a sudden emergence of modernity presumably due to one or a few genetic mutations that gave rise to language
The scientists claim that far from being slow brutes, Neanderthals' cognitive capacities and culture were comparable to ours

Our modern language can be traced back to Neanderthals living half a million years ago, scientists have claimed.

Research increasingly seems to indicate that our close cousins, the Neanderthals, were much more similar to us than imagined even a decade ago.

Dutch researchers argue that the last common ancestor we shared with the Neanderthals around half a million years ago, shared speech and language with modern humans.

They believe that the origins of out modern language are ten times older than previously thought.

The scientists at the Max Planck Institute in the Netherlands are interested in the implications for understanding present day linguistic diversity.

Popular opinion is that they spoke in primitive grunts, but Neanderthal man successfully inhabited vast swathes of western Eurasia for several hundreds of thousands of years, during harsh ages and milder interglacial periods.

Historians know that our closest cousins share a common ancestor with us around half million years ago, probably the species Homo heidelbergensis.

But what is relatively unknown is what their cognitive capabilities were like.

Experts also question why modern humans succeeded in replacing them after thousands of years of cohabitation.

Recently, due to new palaeoanthropological and archaeological discoveries and the reassessment of older data, but especially to the availability of ancient DNA, we have started to realise that their fate was much more intertwined with ours.

Psycholinguistics researchers Dan Dediuand Stephen C. Levinson, said that far from being slow brutes, their cognitive capacities and culture were comparable to ours.

The duo, who have looked at past findings in detail, argue that essentially modern language and speech are an ancient feature of our lineage dating back at least to the most recent ancestor we shared with the Neanderthals and the Denisovans (another form of humanity known mostly from their genome).

Their interpretation of scare evidence contradicts a popular scenario believed by most language scientists, who think our modern language began with a sudden emergence of modernity presumably due to one or a few genetic mutations that gave rise to language.

In contrast, the two researchers think it was a slower process of gradual accumulation of biological and cultural progress.

Their paper is published in Frontiers in Language Sciences and pushed back the origins of modern language by ten times what was previously thought.

Scientists had thought that our modern language began around 50,000 years ago.

But the pair believe that it could have started somewhere between the origins of our genus, Homo, some 1.8 million years ago, and the emergence of Homo heidelbergensis.

The scientists said that given that archaeological and genetic data shows modern humans spreading from Africa mixed with Neanderthals and Denisovans, then just as we carry around some of their genes, our languages may preserve traces of theirs.

They think that their idea can be tested by comparing the structural properties of African and non-African languages and by computer simulations of language spread.

However, it might be harder to prove that Neanderthals contributed to specific words in our modern vocabularies.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...eak-today.html


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Last edited by MACH1; 07-10-2013 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: Neanderthals talked like us half a million years ago

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Buddha is that you.
I wish. I'm not nearly that good looking.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: Neanderthals talked like us half a million years ago

He looks like my uncle Jose
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Neanderthals talked like us half a million years ago

His first words...

bitch, get back in kitchen, bake me pie
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Neanderthals talked like us half a million years ago

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He looks like my uncle Jose
I hope his looks don't run in the family.

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