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H. sapiens evolved about 200,000 ybp, and the commonly accepted date for
the start of language is between 30,000 and 100,000 ybp.  Why is that?  Why
wouldn't one simply assume that H. sapiens had language from the get-go?
 What's the evidence for such a late date?



On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 5:26 AM, George Corley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 5:01 AM, R A Brown <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>
> >  But logically, communication almost had to pass through
> >> this point, though quite possibly before the evolution
> >> of the modern vocal tract.
> >>
> >
> > Why? Are there no other possibilities.  It has long seemed
> > to me that language may have developed out of babble of
> > apparently aimless chatter or of singing before becoming
> > formalized as language as we know it.  I really must read
> > Professor Steven Miten's "The Singing Neanderthals."    :)
> >
> > From what I have read about it, it seems much more in accord
> > with the way I've vaguely thought about things.
> >
> > I think it significant that in all ancient societies that I
> > know of, the earliest _literature_ is in verse - prose comes
> > later. I can imagine palaeolithic humans (whether HSN or
> > HSS) chanting around the fire on long dark winter nights    :)
>
>
> That's a very interesting idea, but while some sort of meaningless singing
> or gibberish may have contributed to the development of language, I don't
> think that language could have sprung fully formed from gibberish.  Either
> some of the structures of normal animal calls contributed to early
> language, or these meaningless songs (which may have had a purpose in
> sexual selection or community cohesion) started to develop as a pidgin for
> some time before a full language developed.  That gap could be one
> generation or a thousand, depending on how well the neural circuitry that
> facilitates language had developed by that time.
>
> Also, slight nitpick: Whether you consider them a subspecies or a different
> species, Neanderthals are not the ancestors of modern humans, but a
> separate branch.  If they developed language it was probably independently
> of said development in modern humans, unless they learned language from
> modern humans (the other way around is extremely unlikely, since there are
> no humans in Africa who lack language).
>



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