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Author Topic:   Talking
Jackal25
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 12 (98469)
04-07-2004 4:37 PM


I was just thinking today and I was wondering how evolutionist feel humans gained the abilty to talk? Did the apes or whoever we evolved from have anything similar to humans now, or do any apes today have something similar to humans(such as vocal chords maybe)? I really do not know anything about this topic so any info would be appreciated.

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Loudmouth, posted 04-07-2004 4:47 PM Jackal25 has responded

  
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 12 (98473)
04-07-2004 4:47 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jackal25
04-07-2004 4:37 PM


Jackal25,

Many species have special vocalization that is meant to transmit information from one individual to another. Cetaceans, for example, have songs in the case of humpback whales or high pitched clicks in the case of dolphins. I can find a source if you want one, but I recently watched a Discovery Channel program on cognitive skills in chimpanzees. Through some chance observations, they found that the chimps in one cage could relay, through vocal communication, to another cage what the meal was that day. They had separate "words" for different kinds of fruit such as bananas or grapes.

However, to my knowledge no other organism is able to communicate abstract thought between others of the same species. This demands accurate vocalization and a larger vocabulary than is possible given the limitations seen in other species. Humans capability for vocabularity comes from adaptations seen in the hyoid bone (anchor for the tongue) and the larynx. Both of these anatomical features are placed lower in the throat, which gives greater movement and hence a greater vocal range. I would say that the complicated and refined vocalization seen in humans is a combination of brain power and anatomical adaptation. Without those two things communication would also have to rely on non-verbal communication or a simpler vocabulary that may not allow sharing of abstract thought or specificity.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Jackal25, posted 04-07-2004 4:37 PM Jackal25 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Jackal25, posted 04-07-2004 5:22 PM Loudmouth has responded
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Jackal25
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 12 (98488)
04-07-2004 5:22 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Loudmouth
04-07-2004 4:47 PM


Sources are always good and would be appreciated.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Loudmouth, posted 04-07-2004 4:47 PM Loudmouth has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Loudmouth, posted 04-07-2004 6:57 PM Jackal25 has responded

  
Jackal25
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 12 (98496)
04-07-2004 5:38 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Loudmouth
04-07-2004 4:47 PM


As for the adaptations of the hyoid bone and the larynx. Do apes or any other animals have these and they did not adapt as ours did, or do they just not have them all together? And I hope there are no Colorado fans here because the Stars are going to give yall a good beating in the playoffs today.

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Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 12 (98522)
04-07-2004 6:57 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Jackal25
04-07-2004 5:22 PM


quote:
Sources are always good and would be appreciated

Not a problem. I was kind of curious about the current science myself. I will try and rely on primary literature instead of the Discovery Channel bastardizations.

First source:

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Jun 10;100(12):6930-3. Epub 2003 May 29.

Descent of the larynx in chimpanzee infants.

Nishimura T, Mikami A, Suzuki J, Matsuzawa T.

Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama, Aichi 484-8506, Japan. nishimur@pri.kyoto-u.ac.jp

The human larynx descends during infancy and the early juvenile periods, and this greatly contributes to the morphological foundations of speech development. This developmental phenomenon is believed to be unique to humans. This concept has formed a basis for paleoanthropological studies on the origin and evolution of human speech. We used magnetic resonance imaging to study the development of three living chimpanzees and found that their larynges also descend during infancy, as in human infants. This descent was completed primarily through the rapid descent of the laryngeal skeleton relative to the hyoid, but it was not accompanied by the descent of the hyoid itself. The descent is possibly associated with developmental changes of the swallowing mechanism. Moreover, it contributes physically to an increased independence between the processes of phonation and articulation for vocalization. Thus, the descent of the larynx and the morphological foundations for speech production must have evolved in part during hominoid evolution, and not in a single shift during hominid evolution.

I found it interesting that the chimp larynx/hyoid also descends like that of humans. Nonetheless, it is the ability to separate tones and articulation that allows the complex speech that humans are capable of, as is talked about in the abstract. Also, they seem to indicate that this process had started before chimps and humans split. Hey, we are both learning.

Second source:

Nature. 2002 Aug 22;418(6900):869-72. Epub 2002 Aug 14.

Molecular evolution of FOXP2, a gene involved in speech and language.

Enard W, Przeworski M, Fisher SE, Lai CS, Wiebe V, Kitano T, Monaco AP, Paabo S.

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Inselstrasse 22, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.

Language is a uniquely human trait likely to have been a prerequisite for the development of human culture. The ability to develop articulate speech relies on capabilities, such as fine control of the larynx and mouth, that are absent in chimpanzees and other great apes. FOXP2 is the first gene relevant to the human ability to develop language. A point mutation in FOXP2 co-segregates with a disorder in a family in which half of the members have severe articulation difficulties accompanied by linguistic and grammatical impairment. This gene is disrupted by translocation in an unrelated individual who has a similar disorder. Thus, two functional copies of FOXP2 seem to be required for acquisition of normal spoken language. We sequenced the complementary DNAs that encode the FOXP2 protein in the chimpanzee, gorilla, orang-utan, rhesus macaque and mouse, and compared them with the human cDNA. We also investigated intraspecific variation of the human FOXP2 gene. Here we show that human FOXP2 contains changes in amino-acid coding and a pattern of nucleotide polymorphism, which strongly suggest that this gene has been the target of selection during recent human evolution.

I found this one to be extremely interesting. This gene (FOXP2) seems to be tied to motor control of the muscles involved in speech. In humans, if the gene is altered their speech is impaired, both at the site of vocalization and in the thought process involved in sentence structure. Also, the gene is different than what is found in other apes, namely gorillas and chimps. So again, we have two requirements: morphology and motor control tied to specific wiring in the brain.

Third source:

J Comp Psychol. 2002 Mar;116(1):12-26.

How cross-fostered chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) initiate and maintain conversations.

Bodamer MD, Gardner RA.

Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, Central Washington University, USA.

This study systematically sampled typical attention-getting sounds and sign language conversations between each of 4 originally cross-fostered chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), still living freely, but now in a laboratory setting, and a familiar human interlocutor. Videotape records showed that when they encountered a human interlocutor sitting alone at his desk with his back turned to them, the cross-fosterlings either left the scene or made attention-getting sounds. The only signs they made to the interlocutor's back were noisy signs. When the human turned and faced them, the chimpanzees promptly signed to him (98% of the time) and rarely made any sounds during the ensuing signed conversations. Under systematic experimental conditions, the signed responses of the chimpanzees were appropriate to the conversational styles of the human interlocutor, confirming daily field observations.

By cross-fostering, I am guessing that these chimps have had long standing contact with humans. It is interesting that they also rely on hand signaling, but rely on "attention getting" sound when hand signalling is impossible.

In my brief search I was not able to search down the example of chimps relaying the daily meal. From the primary research, it seems that while chimps CAN be trained to communicate verbally, they are no observations showing that chimps do this in the wild.

Link:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=10968929

Overall, I am finding this area quite interesting. You might also want to take a look at the primary literature. Go to www.pubmed.com and enter a search for "language apes." BTW, remove the quotation marks otherwise it will search for the phrase "language apes" which will probably return nothing.

PS. Everyone is overlooking the Sharks. They might be the big surprise this year.

[This message has been edited by Loudmouth, 04-07-2004]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Jackal25, posted 04-07-2004 5:22 PM Jackal25 has responded

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Jackal25
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 12 (98556)
04-07-2004 8:44 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Loudmouth
04-07-2004 6:57 PM


Thanks for all the sources and I look forward to looking in to it. I find it very intersting too, thats why I brought it up, I havnt seen anyone talking about it around here. I plan on looking for sources as well so I will let you know if I stumble on any good info.

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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3911
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 7 of 12 (98562)
04-07-2004 9:36 PM


Thread moved here from the Evolution forum.

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20326
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 8 of 12 (98605)
04-08-2004 1:56 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Jackal25
04-07-2004 8:44 PM


sexual selection
another thing to consider is the role sexual selection may have played

Precis of 'The mating mind: How sexual choice shaped the evolution of human nature’ (click)

The supporting evidence includes human mate preferences, courtship behavior, behavior genetics, psychometrics, and life history patterns. The theory makes many testable predictions, and sheds new light on human cognition, motivation, communication, sexuality, and culture.

Sexual selection often creates an evolutionary positive-feedback loop that is highly sensitive to initial conditions. It therefore tends to produce extravagant traits that have high costs and complexity, yet these traits are often unique to one species, and absent in closely-related taxa.

The idea is that sexual feedback is responsible for the increase in the size of the brain through increased reliance on song and dance in courtship and selection for innovative displays.

Finally, language was a secondary result of this form of communication.

Who do you sing to?

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by 1.61803, posted 04-08-2004 3:04 PM RAZD has responded
 Message 11 by Loudmouth, posted 04-08-2004 4:01 PM RAZD has responded

  
1.61803
Member
Posts: 2926
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 9 of 12 (98713)
04-08-2004 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by RAZD
04-08-2004 1:56 AM


Re: sexual selection
I'm in a band...
Abby writes:

The idea is that sexual feedback is responsible for the increase in the size of the brain...

Thats not the only thing it is responsible for the increase in size of. LOL!!
Sorry I just couldnt pass this up. *Drum joke kabum bump... *edit spelling.

[This message has been edited by 1.61803, 04-08-2004]


"One is punished most for ones virtues" Fredrick Neitzche

This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 20326
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 10 of 12 (98720)
04-08-2004 3:35 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by 1.61803
04-08-2004 3:04 PM


Re: sexual selection
there are also people that argue that the predeliction for song and dance {ceremonies \ courtship} is a predisposition that has naturally conflated into religion ...


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}


This message is a reply to:
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Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 12 (98727)
04-08-2004 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by RAZD
04-08-2004 1:56 AM


Re: sexual selection
Abby,

I think it is going to be difficult to discern the primary selection force that resulted in complex speech. In my opinion sexual selection, passing down tool specialization, and hunting strategies all have good arguments behind them. In one of my previous posts, the gene that is responsible for tongue/larynx motor neuron control seems to have been high selective pressure. The evidence points to a selection for complex speech, but the actual environmental pressure may be difficult to narrow down. Also, it could have been a multi-faceted yet linked group of causes that all benefitted equally from speech. And, sexual selection may have only reinforced speech in order to strenghthen other aspects that affected hunting and tool making. Needless to say, the cause is much cloudier than the result.


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 20326
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 12 of 12 (98735)
04-08-2004 4:40 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Loudmouth
04-08-2004 4:01 PM


Re: sexual selection
Oh I fully concur on the difficulty -- I doubt we will ever know for sure what the specific triggers were, as the means necessary to do so boggle the mind in both complexity and ethics (make clones from DNA samples???)

And another item not touched on is the {babble \ coo} bonding between mother and child ... could the first "words" actually be just doubled up attention getting sounds? (mama baba dada doodoo)

ahahahhahaaaaaa


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Loudmouth, posted 04-08-2004 4:01 PM Loudmouth has not yet responded

  
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