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Monday, October 22, 2007

Did Neanderthals Speak?

New research has scientists theorizing that Neanderthals may have been capable of complex speech as are we. They say that the primitive human ancestor possessed the FOXP2 gene, linked to speech.

My question though is whether or not the Neanderthal possessed the physical components needed for this type of communication. I know that many animals, whether or not they possess this gene, are said to be smart enough to communicate in various ways (including some kind of speech - squeals, cries, etc.) but lack the physical abilities to actually communicate in complex ways. Especially since it is noted that many animals do possess this gene, from mice to orangutans.

However, the Neanderthal had a FOXP2 gene very similar to that of modern humans, which is slightly different from those other species and genus (geni?) possess.

Scientists made this discovery after they secured nuclear DNA from a well-preserved Neanderthal skeleton recently found in Spain.

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