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Current Affairs

Neanderthals could produce speech like humans

Date: 04 March 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A new study has found that Neanderthals possessed the ability to hear and produce speech in a way that closely resembles modern-day humans.

 

Background

Researchers used high-resolution CT scans to compare virtual 3D models of the ear structures in Homo sapiens and Neanderthals to make the discovery.

 

Details

  • With these models, they could determine the range of sounds that Neanderthals could hear, and thus probably produce as speech.

  • The fossils were taken from Atapuerca, near Burgos in northern Spain, where the earliest evidence of humans in Western Europe has been found.

  • The presence of similar hearing abilities demonstrates that the Neanderthals possessed a communication system that was as complex and efficient as modern human speech.

  • The notion that Neanderthals were much more primitive than modern humans is outdated as in recent years evidence demonstrates that they were much more intelligent than we once assumed. 

  • Neanderthals would have been capable of producing words that modern-day humans use, such as “hello” or “ok”, if those words had had any meaning to them.

  • The new study suggested Neanderthal speech likely included an increased use of consonants. Previous work in this area focused on Neanderthals’ capacity to produce vowel sounds.

 

Neanderthals

  • Neanderthals are an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans who lived in Eurasia until about 40,000 years ago.

  • They most likely went extinct due to great climatic change, disease, or a combination of these factors. 

  • The name Neanderthal derives from the Neander Valley in Germany, where the fossils were first found.

  • Neanderthals lived before and during the last ice age of the Pleistocene in some of the most challenging environment ever inhabited by humans.

  • They developed a successful culture, with a complex stone tool technology, that was based on hunting, with some scavenging and local plant collection.