What language did human ape-ancestors speak?

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Helen Cadwallader

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What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
« 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?

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Ethos

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What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
« Reply #1 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??

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Offline LeeE

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What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
« Reply #2 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.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline Don_1

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What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
« Reply #3 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.
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Offline DoctorBeaver

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What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
« Reply #4 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.
« Last Edit: 12/09/2009 23:30:09 by DoctorBeaver »
Fledgling science site at http://www.sciencefile.org/SF/content/view/54/98/ needs members and original articles. If you can help, please join.

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Offline LeeE

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What language did human ape-ancestors speak?
« Reply #5 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.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!