Rare Primate's Vocal Lip-Smacks Share Features of Human Speech
[Source: Science Daily]
The vocal lip-smacks that geladas use in friendly encounters have surprising similarities to human speech, according to a study reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 8th. The geladas, which live only in the remote mountains of Ethiopia, are the only nonhuman primate known to communicate with such a speech-like, undulating rhythm. Calls of other monkeys and apes are typically one or two syllables and lack those rapid fluctuations in pitch and volume.
This new evidence lends support to the idea that lip-smacking, a behavior that many primates show during amiable interactions, could have been an evolutionary step toward human speech.
“Our finding provides support for the lip-smacking origins of speech because it shows that this evolutionary pathway is at least plausible,” said Thore Bergman of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “It demonstrates that nonhuman primates can vocalize while lip-smacking to produce speech-like sounds.”
Bergman first began to wonder about the geladas’ sounds when he began his fieldwork in 2006. “I would find myself frequently looking over my shoulder to see who was talking to me, but it was just the geladas,” he recalled. “It was unnerving to have primate vocalizations sound so much like human voices.”
Read the Rest of this Article on Science Daily
PediaStaff is Hiring!All Jobs
PediaStaff hires pediatric and school-based professionals nationwide for contract assignments of 2 to 12 months. We also help clinics, hospitals, schools, and home health agencies to find and hire these professionals directly. We work with Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, School Psychologists, and others in pediatric therapy and education.