Contrary to popular belief in the last decade, recent comparative genomic studies provide strong evidence for the occurrence of interbreeding between the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. Based on anatomical, genetic, and archaeological evidence, this study argues that the Neanderthals were biologically language-ready, but their simple social system may have made language unnecessary for them until they started interacting with Homo sapiens. The successful interbreeding between the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens further suggests that the former were likely able to acquire language. This paper argues that the Neanderthal's successful acquisition of human language may serve as supporting evidence for the language polygenesis hypothesis.

Supporting evidence for language polygenesis from Neanderthal-human interbreeding

Pui Yiu Szeto
2014

Abstract

Contrary to popular belief in the last decade, recent comparative genomic studies provide strong evidence for the occurrence of interbreeding between the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. Based on anatomical, genetic, and archaeological evidence, this study argues that the Neanderthals were biologically language-ready, but their simple social system may have made language unnecessary for them until they started interacting with Homo sapiens. The successful interbreeding between the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens further suggests that the former were likely able to acquire language. This paper argues that the Neanderthal's successful acquisition of human language may serve as supporting evidence for the language polygenesis hypothesis.
The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference (EVOLANG10)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3751171
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