When did language first appear?

Carol Jensen jorna at web4you.dk
Sat Feb 13 20:17:36 UTC 1999

[ moderator re-formatted ]

Reading Cavalli-Sforza's "The Great Human Diaspora(s), page 186:

"That language appeared overnight, as it were, and immediately became as
sophisticated as it is today, would be hard to believe. There is, however, a
small piece of evidence that in the oldest species of humanity, Homo habilis,
the biological basis for some primitive language form already existed.

We know there are areas important for language in the brain, somewhere behind
the eye, because when these are damaged by injury of stroke, the ability to
produce and comprehend language, and to write, is impaired. These areas (known
as Broca and Wernicke) are foound in the temporal region of the brain's left
hemisphere and make the cranium slightly asymmetrical, with the left side being
slightly larger. This asymmetrical form is already found in our most intact
Homo habilis skulls from more than two million years ago, but is absent from
the apes closest to humans."

Interesting, isn't it? Very good and instructive book.

Carol Jensen

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