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Primate speech: How some species are ‘wired’ for talk

primate speech


Our primate cousins have surprised and impressed scientists in recent years, with revelations about monkeys’ tool-using abilities and chimps’ development of complex sign language.

But researchers are still probing the question: why are we humans the only apes that can talk?

That puzzle has now led to an insight into how different non-human primates’ brains are “wired” for vocal ability.

A new study has compared different primate species’ brains.

It revealed that primates with wider “vocal repertoires” had more of their brain dedicated to controlling their vocal apparatus.

That suggests that our own speaking skills may have evolved as our brains gradually rewired to control that apparatus, rather than purely because we’re smarter than non-human apes. MORE

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