Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Plant Sciences, Zoology & Evolution => Topic started by: Helen Cadwallader on 06/09/2009 13:30:04

Title: What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
Post by: Helen Cadwallader on 06/09/2009 13:30:04
Helen Cadwallader asked the Naked Scientists:
   
In pre-human times all apes spoke the same and looked the same. What started the changes of the appearence and vocabulary?

What do you think?
Title: What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
Post by: Ethos on 06/09/2009 14:06:34
Helen Cadwallader asked the Naked Scientists:
   
In pre-human times all apes spoke the same and looked the same. What started the changes of the appearence and vocabulary?

What do you think?
Alien intervention??
Title: What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
Post by: LeeE on 06/09/2009 16:31:10
In pre-human times all apes spoke the same and looked the same. What started the changes of the appearence and vocabulary?

I'm sorry, but why do you think that at one time they all 'spoke' the same but that now they don't?  And in what way do apes now look different from each other such that in the past they didn't?

I strongly doubt that primitive apes 'spoke' any differently to the way that modern apes speak now i.e. they don't speak at all.  What they could do was vocally convey basic concepts such as fear, aggression, like, dislike and satisfaction etc. but most animals, and humans too, still do this anyway, and have probably always done so.
Title: What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
Post by: Don_1 on 07/09/2009 08:37:46
There were probably more species of apes in 'pre human' times than there are now. There is fossil evidence for this. Perhaps because of the high level of intelligence of the apes, the superior species dominated the lower species, which led to relatively early extinction.

As different ape species today have different 'languages', I see no reason to suspect that the very early apes would not have had their individual means of communication.

But if you wish to go back further, there probably was a common ancestor of all the great apes (humans included). Changes in the appearance, diet, mannerisms etc which led to the diversification into different species would have occurred due to the growth of numbers leading to a spread of the population into different habitats, among other factors.
Title: What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
Post by: DoctorBeaver on 12/09/2009 23:23:50
If you want to know what really primitive language sounds like, go to Glasgow on a Saturday night.  [:D]

Dave - that's a very interesting diagram. I find it intriguing that a language such as Albanian is so close to the PIE.
Title: What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
Post by: LeeE on 14/09/2009 18:32:08
I was a bit surprised to find that Romany comes off the Indic branch and didn't realise that the European Romani people originated in medieval central India.  How 'bout that.