General, Research, Technology

How well did the Neanderthals speak?

Neanderthals who lived 150 thousand years ago arethough not direct, but still our relatives. Scientists regularly find fossilized remains of their bodies and objects that they used. Previously, it was believed that Neanderthals led a much more primitive lifestyle than modern humans. But over time, it turned out that they were very advanced and actively developed tools, learned to cook food and even created works of art. At the same time, scientists are still not completely clear how the Neanderthals communicated with each other. There is speculation that they communicated through sign language, but is that really all they were capable of? Of course not. Recently, Spanish scientists have compared the structure of the ear of modern humans, Neanderthals and our even more distant ancestors. It turned out that the Neanderthals were good at distinguishing human voices from animal sounds. Proceeding from this, scientists dared to assume that the ancient people still knew how to talk.

Unfortunately, we will never be able to recreate the language of the Neanderthals. But they could very well talk

Hearing Neanderthals

The results of the scientific work carried out weredescribed in the scientific publication Science Alert. At the first stage of the study, they took 5 skulls of Neanderthals and examined them using computed tomography. Based on their observations, they created detailed 3D models of their hearing aid. In the same way, they created models of hearing aids of modern Homo sapiens and the ancestor of the Neanderthals - Sima hominin, who lived on our planet about 430 thousand years ago.

Skull Sima hominin

At the second stage of scientific work, scientists decidedfind out what range of sounds each of the studied hearing aids could recognize. It turned out that the ancient people of the Sima hominin species heard a much smaller range of sounds than the Neanderthals. And those, in turn, had almost the same hearing as modern people. The researchers concluded that over the course of several hundred thousand years, Neanderthals' hearing evolved precisely so that they could distinguish their own voices. This is a clear sign that they were in contact with each other through sounds or even words.

Skull of a modern man (left) and a Neanderthal man (right)

It is important to note that in the course of evolution, Neanderthalsespecially learned to hear and pronounce vowel sounds. The researchers believe that this feature allowed them to distinguish the voices of people from the sounds of wild animals. It is likely that they had their own language, which was dominated by vowel sounds. Moreover, each group had its own language, because Neanderthals led a nomadic lifestyle and rarely crossed paths with other groups.

3D models of the skulls of a modern man (left) and a Neanderthal man (right)

If you are interested in science and technology news, subscribe to our channel in Yandex.Zen. There you will find articles that have not been published on the site!

Neanderthal speech

Scientists are trying to figure out how they spokeNeanderthals have been around for a long time. In 1971, researchers found a well-preserved Neanderthal skeleton and modeled an accurate model of his oral cavity. With it, they wanted to find out what sounds he could pronounce and whether he was able to pronounce English words like "father", "feet" and so on. It turned out that no - the small nasopharyngeal cavity and thin tongue hardly allowed them to pronounce the English letters "a", "i" and "u". Even if he could do it, the sounds would be very short and it would be extremely difficult to put together full-fledged words from them. However, with the pronunciation of vowels, Neanderthals clearly did not have any problems.

Even if Neanderthals were smart, they were unlikely to be able to pronounce modern words.

Interesting fact: researchers tried to find out if there isdifferences between the vocal apparatus of Neanderthals and chimpanzees. It turned out that the difference is huge and monkeys simply cannot pronounce many modern words. They would not have been able to do this even with a more developed intellect.

In general, the ways of communication of Neanderthals are stillstill remain a mystery to scientists. But researchers know many other interesting facts. For example, they already believe that Neanderthals were able to process leather and make it soft and water-resistant. There is a fairly large article on this topic on our website, which can be read at this link. Also, my colleague Artem Sutyagin told from what materials and how ancient people made tools. Surprisingly, sometimes the horns of bison, bison and many other giants were used. Yes, life thousands of years ago was very harsh.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!