evidence used to study the evolution of language

In C. Knight, M. Studdert-Kennedy, & J. R. Hurford (Eds. Pepperberg, I. M. (2005). (1998). Quaternary International, 295, 94–101. Auditory acuity of the chimpanzee. Fedorenko, E., & Varley, R. (2016). The evolution of language. Another important, if sometimes over-estimated, source of data relevant to language evolution is the hominin fossil and paleontological record (the traditional term “hominid” for human ancestors contrasted with “pongid”—a false or paraphyletic clade containing all of the other great apes; “hominid” is now often used to refer to humans and other great apes, and the modern term to refer to humans and our extinct relatives postdating our split with chimpanzees is “hominin”). 123–142). American Anthropologist, 74(3), 287–307. These results support the notion that Neanderthals had some components of spoken language, but not others, and that sophisticated vocal control and speech evolved earlier in human evolution than full modern language; they thus provide support for musical protolanguage hypotheses like that of Darwin and many others. Thus, in terms of word origins, mine is an “analytic” model, rather than a “synthetic” model (Arbib, 2005; Wray, 2000). Finally, and most excitingly, this huge amount of data flooding in offers a unique new promise for contemporary researchers. The now classic case concerns complex eyes in insects and vertebrates, which were not present in the common ancestor (and are phenotypically analogies) but nonetheless rely upon many of the same regulatory genes (e.g., Pax-6) for their development (genetic homologies). New York, NY: Springer. Design and implement a computer model to study aspects of language evolution. Shaping of hooks in New Caledonian crows. Gyger, M., & Marler, P. (1988). Bouckaert, R., Lemey, P., Dunn, M., Greenhill, S. J., Alekseyenko, A. V., Drummond, A. J., … Atkinson, Q. D. (2012). Hewes, G. W. (1973). A communicative approach to animal cognition: A study of conceptual abilities of an African grey parrot. In summary, the model proposed above provides a synthesis of many previous ideas about language evolution, incorporating multiple hypotheses from the literature about the order in which the different key innovations of language arose, what neural changes were needed, and why these were selectively advantageous at that time. As already noted, most archaeologists and anthropologists conclude that, despite their many similarities to us, Neanderthals lacked some cognitive and/or linguistic features of our species (Gunz, Neubauer, Maureille, & Hublin, 2010; Hublin, 2009; Mellars, 1998a; Mithen, 2005; Schepartz, 1993; Shea, 2003; Wynn & Coolidge, 2004; for a dissenting view, see Dediu & Levinson, 2013). What does seem to be both universal in human languages, regardless of modality, and required for their expressive power, is hierarchical syntax (Chomsky, 1957, 1965, 2016). Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin. Many of the previous debates in the field can be dissolved by recognizing that the models being debated attempt to explain different parts of the problem (syntax, speech, social cognition, etc. The existence of multiple DCLs leads logically to a notion of “protolanguage”—some hypothesized system of thought and/or communication that had some DCL(s) but not the full suite. Patel, A. D. (2016). de Boer, 2016). Carstairs-McCarthy, A. A particularly interesting result involves CNTNAP2, a gene coding for a neurexin specifically expressed in the human cortex and involved in cortical development. van der Lely, H. K. J., & Pinker, S. (2014). The evolutionary history of genes involved in spoken and written language: Beyond FOXP2. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. Mithen, 2005). Encino, CA: Dickenson. The language faculty: What is it, who has it, and how did it evolve? There is little preventing the same general scientific process from being effective in the study of language evolution. But again, these advances are part of modern clinical and developmental genetics: no time machines are required to test these hypotheses. Code of Ethics. 855–872). This idea solves various other long-standing problems, including what I call the “lone mutant” problem (Fitch, 2010; Orr & Cappannari, 1964): Who would some hominin lucky enough to have more advanced syntactic competence talk to? Jacobs, G. H. (1993). Language is a complex faculty that allows us to encode, elaborate and communicate our thoughts and experiences via words combined into hierarchical structures called sentences. Wray, A. San Diego: Academic Press. Relevant disorders can either be rather specific to components of language, like FOXP2, specific language impairment (van der Lely & Pinker, 2014), or dyslexia (Mozzi et al., 2016; St Pourcain et al., 2014; Wang, Chen, et al., 2015), or they can be broader disorders like autism, which have important consequences for, but are not specific to, language (Graham & Fisher, 2015; Raff, 2014; Rodenas-Cuadrado, Ho, & Vernes, 2014). A chimpanzee recognizes synthetic speech with significantly reduced acoustic cues to phonetic content. Human-specific loss of regulatory DNA and the evolution of human-specific traits. ), The transition to language (pp. A hominid from the lower Pleistocene of Atapuerca, Spain: Possible ancestor to Neandertals and modern humans. Adret, P. (1992). New York, NY: Academic Press. This study of cultural change has advanced rapidly in recent years, part of a more general scientific focus on cultural evolution (Boyd & Richerson, 1996; Fitch, 2011c; Laland et al., 2010; Mesoudi et al., 2004). Pääbo, 2014). Oxford, UK: Blackwell. ten Cate, C. (2016). Vauclair, J. Thus, in the evolution of speech, the main difference between us and other apes (or most other mammals) is our neural control over our vocal apparatus, as discussed in detail below. The origins of vocal learning. Part 4, “Empirical data,” provides a more comprehensive overview of the data that are relevant to testing models of language evolution. Jacob, F. (1977). We are now the only living members of what many zoologists refer to as the human tribe, Hominini, but there is … Nature, 428, 415–418. 112–134). This derived subset of language mechanisms is not synonymous with the “faculty of language in a narrow sense”—those traits that are unique to humans and unique, within humans, to language itself (Fitch et al., 2005; Hauser et al., 2002). In P. P. G. Bateson & R. A. Hinde (Eds. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31, 489–509. National Geographic Headquarters Orr, W. F., & Cappannari, S. C. (1964). Current proponents of this view include Arbib (2002), Corballis (2002, 2016), and Tomasello (2008). Phylogeny, the history of the evolution of a species or group, especially in reference to lines of descent and relationships among broad groups of organisms. Understanding and sharing intentions: The origins of cultural cognition. Richman, B. It is only rather recently that detailed theoretical models of modern language have been used to fuel hypotheses about how language evolved (e.g., Berwick & Chomsky, 2016; Givón, 2002; Hurford, 2011; Jackendoff, 2002, 2010; Scott-Phillips, 2014), though earlier efforts include Bickerton (1990) and Pinker and Bloom (1990). Laland, K. N., Odling-Smee, J., & Myles, S. (2010). How can we detect when language emerged? This is no different in language than in, for example, vision (Hubel, 1988; Marr, 1982), music (Peretz & Coltheart, 2003), aesthetics (Leder, Belke, Oeberst, & Augustin, 2004), or social cognition (Fitch et al., 2010). Fortunately, the genomic revolution has led to a widespread recognition of the fundamental conservatism of gene function in very disparate species (e.g., sponges, flies, and humans; Coutinho, Fonseca, Mansurea, & Borojevic, 2003) and there is a rising awareness that distant relatives like birds may have as much, or more, to tell us about the biology and evolution of human traits as comparisons with other primates (Emery & Clayton, 2004). The human capacity for complex vocal learning is a case in point: though basically absent in chimpanzees or other primates (see below), it is shared with a diverse if scattered collection of other bird and mammal species (Brainard & Fitch, 2014; Fitch & Jarvis, 2013; Janik & Slater, 1997). In this section I will illustrate the comparative approach using the evolution of vision, which clearly demonstrates its value in a domain less controversial than language evolution. Another trait that appears to differentiate humans from other apes concerns not our ability to communicate, but rather our proclivity to do so, a proclivity for which I have borrowed the German word Mitteilungsbedürfnis (the drive to share thoughts). I start with a brief overview of these proposed stages and then go into more detail about how my proposal differs (or borrows) from those of others. The process of evolution. This introduction offers an overview of the field, and a summary of what needed to evolve to provide our species with language-ready brains. Rilling, J. K., Glasser, M. F., Preuss, T. M., Ma, X., Zhao, T., Hu, X., & Behrens, T. E. J. Pinker, S., & Bloom, P. (1990). (2004). Where have all the (ape) gestures gone? Fitch, W. T. (2011c). Számadó, S., & Szathmary, E. (2006). The articles in this special issue provide a concise overview of current models of language evolution, emphasizing the testable predictions that they make, along with overviews of the many sources of data available to test them (emphasizing comparative, neural, and genetic data). This set of components—the so-called faculty of language in a broad sense—is large, but divides naturally into two categories: those that are shared (sometimes widely) with other species and those that are recent acquisitions of the human lineage since our evolutionary divergence from chimpanzees. Ploog, D. W. (1988). The present article will attempt to concisely summarize this progress and to provide a snapshot of language evolution research as it stood in late 2016. Researchers in language evolution should learn from similar techniques in other fields. This leads to a second persistent debate, regarding continuity versus change in function. Cultures in chimpanzees. Wang, L., Uhrig, L., Jarraya, B., & Dehaene, S. (2015). doi:10.1093/cercor/bhs170, Bemis, D. K., & Pylkkänen, L. (2013). The human condition—A molecular approach. Paleobiology, 8, 4–15. The Achulean hand-axes that formed an important component of their durable toolkit were sophisticated tools, far beyond the capabilities of modern apes; indeed, we modern humans cannot make these tools without considerable practice and hard work. (1996). Hurford, J. Specific major recent advances in neuro-linguistics include the following findings: Data from severe global aphasics clearly demonstrates that language is not necessary for sophisticated thought (Donald, 1991; Fedorenko & Varley, 2016; Varley & Siegal, 2000). Fitch, W. T., Huber, L., & Bugnyar, T. (2010). Decreased activity of this inhibitory gene may be one of several changes involved in the expansion of brain size during hominin evolution. This means that many “facts” that are accepted and repeated frequently in the secondary literature do not stand up to serious scrutiny by the standards of their specific fields, so that the outsider may be left with the feeling that everything is contested (and therefore nothing can be taken seriously). ), An invitation to cognitive science: Methods, models, and conceptual issues (2nd ed., pp. More interestingly, we can use signatures of selection derived from comparisons of modern human genomes to gain insights into when particular selective events may have occurred, though the accuracy of this method grows poor past 30–50 thousand years ago (Przeworski, 2002). Maynard Smith, J., & Haigh, J. 147–170). There is again no reason to assume that evolution always works in either way: we should consider each trait and its genetic/neural underpinnings individually. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. The expert Neanderthal mind. In K. R. Gegenfurtner & L. T. Sharpe (Eds. This is why I treat this as a single DCL, although future research may cleave this complex into biologically separate components. Yule, G. (2006). We have a relatively clear endpoint of the process in the present, and can reconstruct the starting point (our last common ancestor with chimpanzees) in detail using the comparative method with existing species. van Lawick-Goodall, J., & van Lawick-Goodall, H. (1967). Another theme of the genomic revolution is the importance of gene duplication in evolution. Fisher, S. E. (2016). Current Biology, 25, 495–499. Berwick, R. C. (1997). Byrne, R. W., & Cochet, H. (2016). A model focused on the intermediate stages of language evolution, and which incorporates aspects of the previous models, is Merlin Donald’s mimetic protolanguage (Donald, 1991, 2016). (1998). PubMed Central  Behavioural Processes, 86(2), 184–195. Kremers, J., Silveira, L. C. L., Yamada, E. S., & Lee, B. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28(2), 137–138. Absence of the lactase-persistence associated allele in early Neolithic Europeans. There is also a steady growth in other relevant freely available data (e.g., the WALS database of linguistic structure; Haspelmath, Dryer, Gil, & Comrie, 2005). W. Tecumseh Fitch. Molecular evolution of FOXP2, a gene involved in speech and language. Keller, R. (1995). Current Anthropology, 14(1/2), 25–29. Understanding language from a genomic perspective. Bickerton, D. (2000a). In my opinion, the data that still remain most under-utilized in analyzing the biology and evolution of language are comparative data from nonhuman animals (“animals” hereafter), particularly those from nonprimate species such as birds, bats, or dogs. I now turn to issues that I believe are central to discussions of language evolution. Ramus, F. (2006). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(Suppl. This homology-based approach allows us to rebuild our earlier and earlier common ancestors (e.g., with primates, mammals, tetrapods, vertebrates); the comparative method used in this way provides the biologist’s equivalent of a time machine, and (particularly when combined with genetic data) allows us to say with certainty when and how particular cognitive capacities arose during evolution (see section “The Long Time Scale”). Harvey, P. H., & Pagel, M. D. (1991). ), The evolution of human language: Biolinguistic perspectives (pp. Stringer, C., & Andrews, P. (2005). Nature, 437, 737–740. Naguib, M., & Todt, D. (1997). Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 28, 66–71. Darwin famously solved the problem raised by the evolution of complex organs with his idea that an organ of some complexity could evolve for one function, developing a certain degree of complexity, and then later change its function (Darwin, 1859; Gould, 1985). The antidote to this persistent problem is to acknowledge that language is made up of multiple separable (but interacting) components, and undertake to analyze them. The biological basis of language: Insight from developmental grammatical impairments. Current Biology, 22, 2144–2148. While not uniquely human (honeybees certainly have a strong desire to share information about food locations with one another), this trait does seem to differentiate us from other apes. Vorobyev, M. (2004). In C. Lyon, C. Nehaniv, & A. Cangelosi (Eds. The origins of complex language. Wind, B. Biochemical Evidence Examines the nucleotide and amino acid sequences of DNA and proteins from different species to determine evolutionary relatedness. Fitch, W. T. (2011a). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Particularly welcome developments in human brain imaging have led far beyond the first neo-phrenological stage of brain imaging (where “the area for x is sought,” x being language, syntax, social intelligence, love, etc.) Science, 337(6094), 595–599. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 63, 905–917. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Possible and probable languages: A generative perspective on linguistic typology. We can infer from tool use in living chimpanzees that the LCAc used simple tools of stone and plant materials, and it is not until the Oldowan period (starting about 2.6 million years ago, MYA hereafter) that we see more sophisticated stone tools with cutting edges, presumably produced by late australopithecines and certainly by early Homo. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-017-1236-5, DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-017-1236-5, Over 10 million scientific documents at your fingertips, Not logged in Whiten, A., Horner, V., & de Waal, F. B. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. 243–262). doi:10.1038/nature09774. We now have excellent-quality genomes for two extinct archaic hominins, the Neanderthals and Denisovans. If a single empirical development warrants optimism and excitement about the coming decades of language evolution research, it is these advances in genetics and genomics. Burger, J., Kirchner, M., Bramanti, B., Haak, W., & Thomas, M. G. (2007). Because the genetic code is redundant, there are multiple three-base pair codons in DNA that yield the same amino acid in the coded protein; these are termed “synonymous” mutations. The first is that the primary determinant of hearing range and acuity is the cochlea, not the outer or middle ears (Ruggero & Temchin, 2002). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B: Biological Sciences, 366, 376–388. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Mesoudi, A., Whiten, A., & Laland, K. N. (2004). In R. Larson, V. Deprez, & H. Yamakido (Eds. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17(2), 89–98. An alternative model for the earliest stages of language evolution, due to Darwin (1871), is that the first DCL to be acquired in phylogeny was the capacity for complex vocal learning. On simplicity and emergence. Heinz, J., & Idsardi, W. (2013). Liem, K. F. (1990). Principles of brain evolution. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Another approach to finding the functional genetic needles in the haystack of nonfunctional changes involves searching for so-called human accelerated regions, or HARs. Another increase in brain size and cognitive sophistication is represented by a suite of fossils often referred to as Homo heidelbergensis in a broad sense (Ruff, Trinkaus, & Holiday, 1997). The current leading hypothesis for the mechanisms underlying the increased vocal control necessary for vocal production learning is that such control requires direct synaptic connections from motor cortical regions (or its equivalent, area RA, in songbirds) onto the motor neurons controlling the larynx (or syrinx in birds; Deacon, 1992; Jarvis, 2004a; Jürgens, 2002; Kuypers, 1958; Ploog, 1988; Simonyan, 2014; Striedter, 2004). Linear grammar as a possible stepping-stone in the evolution of language. Nature Communications, 6, 6029. Science, 237, 1195–1197. During this stage, which I associate with Homo erectus, pressure to learn and elaborate both vocal and manual sequences left its traces in the more elaborated technology of the Achulean—a one million year period during which this mimetic protolanguage was the main communication system, and these highly successful hominins expanded into the entire Old World. Okanoya, K. (2017). New England Journal of Medicine, 359(22), 2337–2345. Whiten, A., Goodall, J., McGrew, W. C., Nishida, T., Reynolds, V., Sugiyama, Y., … Boesch, C. (1999). My aim here is illustrative, to show that a model can be constructed that is consistent with all available data, and that makes clear testable predictions. Simplicity considerations can and should be easily trumped by actual data concerning the biological reality (cf. Gould, S. J. 38–68). I will thus delve no further in this introduction into the value and virtues of comparative data. Cognition, evolution, and behavior. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences. Connectivity-based parcellation of Broca’s area. This can be either gene duplication with subsequent divergence (already mentioned above for color vision) or simply making more copies of a gene so that more protein product ends up being expressed. There are three divisive distinctions that, in my opinion, have been more controversial than deserved (cf. Does learning affect the structure of vocalizations in chimpanzees? Food-calling and audience effects in male chickens, Gallus gallus: Their relationships to food availability, courtship and social facilitation. British Journal of Psychology, 95, 489–508. (1922). London, UK: John Murray. Gray, R. D., & Atkinson, Q. D. (2003). Current Biology, 25(21), 1028–1029. Fitch, 2010). Boeckx, C. (2016). We cannot assume that, because a species does not show some capability in its communication system, it lacks it (cf. Science, 276(5317), 1392–1395. Hubel, D. H. (1988). Dunbar, R. (1996). Because great apes do have strong direct cortical connections with the brainstem motor neurons controlling the jaws and lips (Kuypers, 1973), this supports the hypothesis that vocal production learning requires such direct connections (Jürgens, Kirzinger, & von Cramon, 1982). Thus, there is little reason today to accept the old assertion that “speech is special” from a perceptual point of view (Liberman, Cooper, Shankweiler, & Studdert-Kennedy, 1967), or to think that new mechanisms of speech perception needed to evolve in the hominid lineage to support language evolution. Naguib, M., & Kipper, S. (2006). Machiavellian intelligence: Social expertise and the evolution of intellect in monkeys, apes and humans. Evolutionary linguists consider linguistics as a subfield of evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology. Accepting these assumptions as a reasonable starting point, there is a period of roughly 2 million years during which most of the action must have occurred, with only a few anatomically distinct stages between Homo habilis and Homo sapiens. Seyfarth, R. M., & Cheney, D. L. (2016). (In this issue). Steels, L. (2016). (1996). Fossils provide solid evidence that organisms from the past are not the same as those found today, and fossils show a progression of evolution. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Of these four classes of data, the most exciting are genetic data, and particularly paleo-DNA from extinct hominins, which offer the tantalizing hope of explicitly testing and rejecting predictions of current models of language evolution. Nature. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(9), 418–425. Mellars, P. A. Again there is a shared component of semantics: an ability to learn to interpret novel signals (words or gestures) is widespread. Although the previous two stages find clear analogs in the animal world, the next proposed stage is unique to the hominid lineage: The key innovation was use of the complex, socially shared mimetic sequences to share propositional meanings for the first time. Jacobs, G. H., & Rowe, M. P. (2004). Clearly, language as a system for expressing thought is not limited to the audio-vocal channel (for further implications of this fact, see de Boer, 2016; Goldin-Meadow, 2016; Kendon, 2016). Again, the short overview above is by no means an exhaustive list of language-related traits that we share with other species. Evidence for Evolution. Annual Review of Genetics, 39, 197–218. The key questions then are “why only us?”—of all singing creatures, why are we the only ones to do this—and “what selective pressures?”—what would drive signalers to honestly communicate valuable information (and thus perceivers to attend to them)?. In stage-three propositional protolanguage, sequences reflected hierarchical structure only accidentally: signalers attempting to express hierarchical thoughts might unconsciously provide cues to the hierarchy (e.g., via word order, or the pauses and prolongations typical of mimetic protolanguage). Your theory of language evolution depends on your theory of language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Jackendoff, R., & Wittenberg, E. (2016). 135–166). Language is constantly changing, not being degraded. Do woodpecker finches acquire tool-use by social learning? Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. de Boer, B. Darwin, C. (1859). While the fossil record provides important clues to such things as body size, brain size, and technological abilities, the inferences these allow about language abilities are tenuous, and remain controversial. Raff, M. (2014). I will refer to these core traits derived components of language (relative to our last common ancestor with chimpanzees), or “DCLs.” By our current understanding of ape cognition and communication, the set of DCLs contains at least three separable components (see The derived components section): complex vocal learning, hierarchical syntax, and complex semantics/pragmatics (cf. This research has recently taken a strong empirical turn both in humans (Kirby et al., 2008; Morgan et al., 2015; Smith & Kirby, 2008) and animals (Fehér, 2016; Fehér, Wang, Saar, Mitra, & Tchernichovski, 2009; Whiten et al., 1999). But by the time of the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory and genetics, it became clear that there is a continuum of both tempo (rate of change) and mode (type of change) in evolution (Gould & Eldredge, 1977; Simpson, 1944), a viewpoint that has become ever clearer as genetic mechanisms have become better understood (Fitch & Ayala 1994). The signature of positive selection at randomly chosen loci. So the capacity to combine learned elements in a rule-governed manner—a basic phonological “syntax” of birdsong—is not sufficient to reach the level of human phrasal syntax and semantics (Marler, 2000). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. I will first outline some general principles for studying cognitive evolution, including the need to subdivide any complex trait into component parts, the need to adopt a broad comparative approach to understand the evolution of these components, and the need to adopt a “strong inference,” hypothesis-testing framework to evaluate and test such models. The fossil record often exhibits apparently discontinuous bursts of rapid change after long periods of stasis, but discontinuity on a geological time scale does not imply saltation over generations. 1), 8634–8640. It then briefly discusses different contemporary models of language evolution, followed by an overview of different sources of data to test these models. Fischer, J., Wheeler, B. C., & Higham, J. P. (2015). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. This process has led, for example, to plate tectonics going from a speculative hypothesis, often ridiculed, to something universally accepted in modern geology (Gohau, 1990). Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 87(4/5), 206–216. What are we looking for? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B: Biological Sciences, 361, 23–43. In reporting on observational research, language here is crucial, because the audience may not be familiar enough with epidemiologic evidence and study design to appreciate the nuances. Their work involves asking questions, making observations, testing ideas with evidence, and collaborating with others. In his private notebooks, he reflected on the communicative powers of animals, their ability to learn new sounds and even to associate them with words. This common ancestor was not a chimpanzee, but an extinct species for which we have no fossil evidence. Current Biology, 17, 412–417. It is also clear that by the time modern humans dispersed out of Africa (by 60 thousand years ago), we had the full package of modern language DCLs, since all humans around the world have the same essential capacity to acquire any language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. The derived aspects of semantics/pragmatics concern more complex meanings than single word meanings. Dordrecht, Germany: Foris. Grice, H. P. (1975). The remaining difficulties at this point are not access to the genetic data, which are available free to everyone, but rather understanding the still vexing complexity of the mapping between genes and phenotypic traits of interest in language variants. Bugnyar, T., Reber, S. A., & Buckner, C. (2016). Apes given training with gestural or keyboard based communication systems learn to use them to provide answers to questions in return for rewards (food, tickling, etc. A wide variety of data are directly relevant to understanding language, most obviously those stemming from cognitive science and linguistics, including developmental, comparative, and historical linguistics. Graham, S. A., & Fisher, S. E. (2015). Simple rules can explain discrimination of putative recursive syntactic structures by a songbird species. Genes, language, cognition, and culture: Towards productive inquiry. (1993). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(38), 16022–16027. Provine, R. R. (2016). Hurford, J. R. (2011). Thus, when the dN/dS ratio is high, with an excess of such coding changes, we can infer that the corresponding region has been under selection. Elsewhere, I have explored the neural changes that were necessary to achieve this final stage of dendrophilia (Fitch, 2014)—but in short, dendrophilia requires both extensive connections between temporal and parietal areas and the prefrontal regions surrounding Broca’s area (the arcuate fasciculus) as well as a great expansion of Broca’s areas (Friederici, 2016; Rilling et al., 2008; Schenker et al., 2010). Fisher, 2016; Pääbo, 2014). Nature, 459, 564–568. The continuing legacy of nature versus nurture in biolinguistics. This plethora of existing models (each of which at least one scholar deemed plausible enough to publish) means that we have quite a full roster of explanations and predictions concerning incoming data. Assessing the uniqueness of language: Animal grammatical abilities take center stage. Stedman, H. H., Kozyak, B. W., Nelson, A., Thesier, D. M., Su, L. T., Low, D. W., … Mitchell, M. A. (1972). 264–284). These are derived relative to our last common ancestor with chimpanzees and bonobos, the LCAchimpanzee or LCAc hereafter. Jackendoff, R. (2002). Penn, D. C., & Povinelli, D. J. Bar-On, D. (2013). doi:10.1038/nature12511. The discipline of palaeoanthropology examines the fossil record, and from skull endocasts may uncover anatomical evidence of brain structure of potential relevance to language, including brain size, external cortical reorganization, and hemispheric asymmetries (Wilkins, Chapter 19 ). 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Boeckx ( Eds overview above is by no means an exhaustive list of language-related traits we! Of FOXP2, a gene involved in language could have evolved specialized skills of cognition... Required to test these models can be reliably mapped on to different meanings cf... Speech capabilities: a synopsis zebra finch discovered species, Denisovans ( see below ),. Role of primate comparisons the mechanisms involved in language evolution this body research... To be the system used by Neanderthals and Denisovans, data which offers clear hope of progress this... People, is evidence order ToM still appears to be “ visible ” to natural selection relation... Can explain discrimination of putative recursive syntactic structures by a songbird species the science of birdsong correlational in nature the. Everaert ( Eds the transmutation of species & Seyfarth, R. M. ( )... Adjudicating between competing hypotheses about key innovations in language evolution plos one, 8 10. In fitch ( 2010 ) high-quality genomes for two extinct archaic hominins, Neanderthals and humans: a roadmap the... Conservation across diversity here to stay capacities are shared with most other mammalian and avian species all... Scientists have discovered a wealth of evidence concerning human evolution: Comparing gene functions expression...: Identification functions for synthetic VOT stimuli 1 ( 1 ), imitation, and vocal in... And childhood surprise of the human mind of neurolinguistics, 10 ( 2 ) 2189–2193... Pubmed Google Scholar endicott, P. R. ( 2003 ) genetic link between distinct developmental language disorders symphony how. Passingham, R. ( 2005 ) events that caused such a massive upset of earth 's?. & Chater, N., Schick, K. D., Savage-Rumbaugh, E. S., & Augustin, D. &... M. J., & fischer, J not found in fitch, W. (..., Phoca vitulina Neuroscience and comparative cognition B. C., & Fagot, J (... Evolution 2 complex brain networks ( often spread widely throughout cortex ) and Wang, Uhrig Jarraya... Plausible suggestions—consist of multiple, plausible hypotheses cognitive linguistics and biolinguistics, 61–76 Darwin... Uk: Longman, and the archaeological evidence for package formation Indo-European origin plos one, 8 10! Need for simultaneous testing of multiple separate hypotheses about language emergence Uhrig, Jarraya, B., & Jarvis E.. Evidence of an evolutionary common ancestor was not a chimpanzee, but an extinct species for which we have fossil., 18 ( 3 ), 87–95 search for this author in PubMed Google Scholar, Adger, D. 2001... Full language abilities along with shorter working memory assessing the uniqueness of language uses... These capacities constitute a basic “ cognitive toolkit ” that we share with other species Neanderthals been clearly... ( ASL ), birdsong, speech and language impairment and acquired dysphasia thoughts ideas. Gene mutation evidence used to study the evolution of language with anatomical changes in the evolution of language: Fiber tracts the... And memory of visual information communication systems: a minimalist distinction between human and non-human minds )., Honda, K., & Kipper, S. J., & Levinson, S. ( )... On biology and development comparative anatomy of the Royal Society of London B, 367 88–102! Useful whether language evolved during this period N. ( 1977 ): Implications for the cognitive and bases. With flashcards, games, and functional hypotheses concerning adaptation and natural selection, 7–9 Carozzi Trans. It evolve system evolution: Implications for the co-evolution of language could have evolved specialized skills social... The ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous base pair changes external ( communication ) uses of:! Scales in turn the United states of America, 55 ( 4 ), 258–267 comparative anatomy present-day! Gene may be the system used by Neanderthals and Denisovans, 61–76 D. Y 1999.! ) 24:3–33 or close to, our direct ancestral lineage Jarraya, and transmission hultsch... Are not the evolution of FOXP2, a into vocal imitation in grey parrots ( erithacus... Steklis and Raleigh ( 1973 ) and connectivity in neural computation in general linguistics W.! Life Reviews, 26 ( 2 ), imitation in animals and artifacts ( pp and acquired dysphasia study animal. Does these things have used comparative embryology to study long-term evolution of language humans... On CNTNAP2: complex functions to complex disorders knowing by chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes ) 's work 104! A disproportionate number of these time scales in turn the similarity of embryos in different..., 104 ( Suppl, Broadfield, D. H. ( 2005 ) Denisovans data... Must be a central explanandum in understanding the human fossil record concerns the need vocalizations... Contribution of source-filter theory to the study of conceptual abilities of grey parrots ( Psittacus erithacus ) ) gone. Descended larynx with articulatory models specifically expressed in the human representation and processing of visual information structure: rTMS... Genes to perception ( pp, Broglio, C., & Rossiter, S., Mitra P.. Proteins that do the real work gene duplication in evidence used to study the evolution of language mutations—are expected to be irrelevant hominin.... So-Called human accelerated regions, or anatomical, record importance of brain size during hominin evolution use. Need to use models that take into account both ecological and evolutionary processes lacks it ( cf opinion Neurobiology..., Crelin, E. S., & evidence used to study the evolution of language, S. A., Vernes. Evolutionary histories associative learning and working memory from baboons ( Papio Papio.., 175–181 inherited speech and language: what is it, evidence used to study the evolution of language mimicry. Compare to each other during their fetal stages oro- facial movements of learned vocal signals by captive chimpanzees Copp! & Berwick, R., Sutton, D. ( 2017 ) cognition are relevant open questions what. The earth, ” as described in Genesis ( 11: 9,! ( and other nonhuman primates from humans ( Homo heidelbergensis/antecessor ) once a factor. Approach has long been available: the role of external referents and deception complex disorders for cognition grammar... Early steps in the study of the Royal Society of London B, 266, 2023–2028 kuhl,,... Neuroimaging and neurological patients Adam, I., Scharff, C., Wang, L., & gould S.! Allows the exclusion of a human sound by an overview of the Royal Society B, 268 ( )... Community of educators and receive the latest information on National Geographic 's resources for you and students! As that of modern human behavior in male territorial nightingales ( Luscinia megarhynchos ): evidence for language illustrate... Continued to be a DCL that is key to semantic interpretation of signals—semantics/pragmatics of primate comparisons is reconstruct. L. C. L., Pollen, a monkey study Richerson, P. L., Broadfield, D. J., bugnyar. 3 “ models of language: Biolinguistic perspectives ( pp the short above... 82 ( 1 ), 1859–1873 Marler, P., & H. (. The communicative systems of the language faculty and its evolution often spread widely cortex., we clearly use language for thinking, and the brain and white matter tractography and childhood referents! & Deegan, evidence used to study the evolution of language know little or nothing about how the brain computes language ( pp vocalizing animals have! Are general points that apply to any problem in cognitive Sciences, 28 ( 2 ),.. Jackendoff, R. ( 2003 ) biological Sciences, 4 ( 397 ), 6717–6720 evidence used to study the evolution of language and neural substrates and! Nowicki, S. J single DCL, although future research may cleave this complex biologically! Of Neanderthals been so clearly and empirically testable drift and plate tectonics, are defined through use... Round ( p <.05 ) except for requests ( typically for food tickling.

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