Researchers: Chimps may have the ability to understand language too - humans just get more practice
2011-11-30 0:00

By Rob Waugh | DailyMail.co.uk

What separates man from the apes?

Scientists have always thought that one of the basic differences between us and our closest evolutionary cousins, chimpanzees, has been the ability to perceive and process speech.

But that might not be the case.

Scientists now suspect that a ’common ancestor’ of chimps and humans evolved with the capacity for speech - and the human ability to perceive and process it might be more to do with being exposed to language when we are very young than any innate ability.

What separates us from the apes, speech-wise, might just be practice.
Lisa Heimbauer, a researcher at Georgia State University’s Language Research Centre, said: ’I think our results just reinforce the fact that experience matters.

’Humans maybe do not perceive speech because they are human, but instead because of the tremendous amount of experience they have with it from birth.’

Previously, the human brain has been thought to be uniquely evolved to perceive what is and isn’t speech.

New research with a 25-year-old chimp, Panzee, has shown that Panzee can ’interpret’ highly distorted speech sounds - in a way similar to humans.
Chimps share 99 per cent of their DNA with humans - and recent research said that only ’junk DNA’ separates us from our cousins.

The research - using human speech patterns distorted to near-unrecognisable fashion - could lead to a new understanding of how children learn to understand language.

Panzee can also interpret symbols, and can understand more than 100 spoken and digitised words - including a symbol for his own name.

Article from: dailymail.co.uk




Related Articles
Face Recognition IDs Chimps from Photos
Chimpanzees mourn their dead children as humans do
Young Female Chimpanzees Treat Sticks as Dolls: Growing Evidence of Biological Basis for Gender-Specific Play in Humans
Bonobo chimps filmed shaking their head to "say no"
Court Claim: Chimps Are People, Too


Latest News from our Front Page

Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North. The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night. A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked. The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough. Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield. Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
2016-04-27 2:23
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July. The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown. The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent. He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are. ... London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race. Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event. Marathon ...
More News »