Sunday, March 16, 2008

Neanderthal language

Edmund Blair Bolles reports from the Evolang (Evolution of Language) conference in Barcelona that there's new evidence Neanderthals had a spoken language. To recent reports that a gene associated with language (the FoxP2 gene) matches in Neanderthals and modern humans, archaeologist Francisco D’Errico adds the new argument that the evidence Neanderthals used symbolic communication (like body pigment) and transmitted the symbols' meaning between groups and generations shows they must have had speech.
COMMENT: I see the logic, but, to this amateur, the definitive "this is proven" position argued strongly by D'Errico still seems a little bit of a reach. This one is creating plenty of stir in the archaeological and anthropological communities.

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