This video is a Neanderthal documentary.
From World Science:
Neanderthals may have talked—even contributed to our languages, scholars claim
July 10, 2013
Courtesy of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and World Science staff
Neanderthal people may have possessed language, and their words might even have contributed to the languages of our species, two scientists propose.
Though the second idea has yet to be tested, they add, evidence already exists for the first. Both proposals follow recent findings that Neanderthals interbred with ancestors of modern humans.
Data is quickly accumulating that seems to indicate that Neanderthals, close cousins to modern people, were much more like us than imagined even a decade ago, say researchers Dan Dediu and Stephen C. Levinson of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Netherlands.
They argue that modern language and speech can be traced back to the last common ancestor we shared with the Neanderthals, roughly half a million years ago. A paper detailing their work appeared in the July 5 online issue of the journal Frontiers in Language Sciences.
The Neanderthals have fascinated scholars and the public alike ever since their discovery almost 200 years ago. Initially thought to be subhuman brutes incapable of much beyond primitive grunts, they were a successful form of humanity inhabiting vast swathes of western Eurasia for several hundred thousand years, including during harsh glacial periods.
It’s well established that they were our closest cousins, sharing a common ancestor with us around half a million years ago—probably the species Homo heidelbergensis, Dediu and Levinson say. But it has been unclear what their mental capacities were, or why modern humans replaced them—an estimated 28,000 years ago—after thousands of years of cohabitation.
Due to new palaeoanthropological and archaeological findings and reassessments of older data, but especially to the availability of ancient DNA, we’ve started to realize that their fate was intertwined with ours, the researchers noted. And far from being slow brutes, they added, their mental capacities and culture were comparable to ours.
Dediu and Levinson review all these strands of literature and argue that essentially modern language and speech are an ancient feature of our lineage dating back at least to the most recent ancestor we shared with the Neanderthals and the Denisovans, another form of humanity known mostly from DNA.
Their interpretation of the ambiguous, scant evidence contradicts the scenario usually assumed by most language scientists, that of a sudden and recent emergence of modernity—presumably due to one or very few mutations. Instead, the researchers favor a scenario of gradual accumulation of biological and cultural innovations.
The new picture would push back the origins of modern language over tenfold, from the often-cited 50 or so thousand years, to around a million years ago. That’s somewhere between the origins of our genus, Homo, some 1.8 million years ago, and the emergence of Homo heidelbergensis. A genus is a biological classification that embraces a number of species.
Given that archaeological and genetic data shows modern humans spreading from Africa mixed with Neanderthals and Denisovans, then just as we carry around some of their genes, our languages may preserve traces of theirs, the scientists added. The idea, they argued, is testable by comparing the structural properties of African and non-African languages, and by computer simulations of language spread.
New finds demonstrate: Neandertals were the first in Europe to make standardized and specialized bone tools – which are still in use today: here.
Resourceful Neanderthals in France – Popular Archaeology: here.
Neanderthal and Denisovan retroviruses in modern humans: here.
Did Mexicans Inherit Diabetes Risk from Neanderthals? Here.
- Neanderthals shared speech and language with modern humans, study suggests (phys.org)
- Neanderthal Speech and Language Comparable to Modern Humans (natureworldnews.com)
- Neanderthals, Denisovans May Have Had Their Own Language, Suggest Scientists (sci-news.com)
- Neanderthals May Have Shared Speech and Language with Modern Humans (scienceworldreport.com)
- Neanderthals talked just like us (southofheaven.typepad.com)
- Monkey teeth help reveal Neanderthal weaning (terradaily.com)
- Neanderthals Had Homes, Returned to Them After Going on Hunting Expeditions (news.softpedia.com)
- Why did the Neanderthals die out? (guardian.co.uk)
- Here’s A 120,000-Year-Old Tumour Found Inside A Neanderthal (gizmodo.com.au)
- Study: Neanderthal, Human Link Older Than Previously Thought (indianapublicmedia.org)