Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 08, 2019, 20:20 (69 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Wednesday, May 08, 2019, 20:40

DAVID: Before humans developed spoken language there were massive anatomic changes compared to the earliest homos: a dropped pharynx. a protective epiglottis, an arched pallet, special tongue and lip muscles and their brain controls, along with specialized breath controls. All of this appeared before speech. None of this was caused by a need for survival and certainly not driven by environmental demands. In fact none of the development of human characteristics are clearly environmentally driven. Yes, they descended from trees, but that may well have been a voluntary choice to which they then adapted.

dhw: As usual you try to make it sound like a fact that all the changes took place BEFORE the actions were possible, whereas I keep proposing that the changes took place BECAUSE the actions were required.

If humans arrived 300,000+ years ago with the anatomic changes for speech now in place well before language developed (per current experts) your statement is entirely false. Did earlier homos and early sapiens speak? Of course they did, but the development of complex language syntax, forming 30 specific different sounds (phonemes) all required the anatomic changes and the larger brain to allow the appearance.

dhw: And I would suggest that the new way of living REQUIRED better means of communication, and that the cell communities responded to that need as our ancestors invented new sounds – much as legs would have turned to flippers as the pre-whale cell communities responded to the need for more efficient movement in the water. I propose that it is the effort to make the required changes that causes the cells to restructure themselves – as opposed to a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme suddenly being switched on, or your God popping in to do some surgery on a group of pharynxes, epiglottises, palates, tongues, lips and brains, with a final announcement: “Now thou canst speak.”

I view your response a denial of the fossil history as we know it. Reading 'The Ape that Spoke', John Mc Crone, 1991, will explain the points I am making.

From Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 22:44:

"'The emergence of language occurred earlier than we thought, and certainly earlier than we suggested.....Riny Huybregts ... concludes that the language faculty emerged with Homo sapiens, or shortly thereafter, but externalization in one form or another must have been a later development, and quite possibly involved little or no evolutionary change."

Riny Huybregts is saying what I have said from McCrone. Anatomy first


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