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The Speciation of Modern Homo Sapiens$
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T. J. Crow

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263112

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263112.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 10 April 2020

Is the Neural Basis of Vocalisation Different in Non-Human Primates and Homo Sapiens?

Is the Neural Basis of Vocalisation Different in Non-Human Primates and Homo Sapiens?

Chapter:
(p.121) Is the Neural Basis of Vocalisation Different in Non-Human Primates and Homo Sapiens?
Source:
The Speciation of Modern Homo Sapiens
Author(s):

Detlev Ploog

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197263112.003.0007

From an evolutionary perspective, the voice was a prerequisite for the emergence of speech. Speech, the most advanced mode of vocal communication, became possible only after gradual transformations of the sound-producing system and its central nervous control, in co-evolution with the transformations of the auditory system, had taken place. The discussion suggests that the last step in the evolution of the phonatory system in the brain was the outgrowing and augmenting of the fine fibre portion of the pyramidal tract synapsing directly with the motor nuclei for the vocal cords and the tongue, so that the direct and voluntary control of vocal behaviour became possible. It holds that the answer to the question raised in the title is ‘yes’. The neural basis is in fact quite different. The chapter also explains this difference and its consequences for the evolution of language.

Keywords:   speech behaviour, vocal communication, language evolution, central nervous control, auditory system, pyramidcal tract

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