Publication Date

5-1-2007

Advisor(s)

Charles, Douglas

Major

Anthropology

Language

English

Abstract

This essay explores the evolution of speech in humans by synthesizing the approaches taken from many different disciplines. It begins with a survey of the neural and anatomical structures responsible for speech Homo sapiens. This is followed by comparative studies of the vocal communication and linguistic behavior of a number of nonhuman species, including birds and other primates. The essay then focuses on the evolution of speech in early human ancestors as evident in both the fossil and archaeological records. It also surveys the studies upon the evolution of the FOXP2 gene, which has been implicated in human speech abilities. The essay concludes with a synthesized analysis of these different approaches.

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