Re: Paper on chimp culture

t (Mario.Vaneechoutte@rug.ac.be)
Fri, 18 Jun 1999 11:44:06 +0200

From: <Mario.Vaneechoutte@rug.ac.be>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 11:44:06 +0200
To: memetics@mmu.ac.uk
Subject: Re: Paper on chimp culture

Ilfryn PRICE wrote:

> Mario points out
> >But far less efficient than human infants, especially for spoken language. Because
> >they lack our anatomical speaking capacities and probably are far less efficient
> >in picking up syntactical meanings of all the different intonations we use.
>
> And if you read Elaine Morgan's aquatic ape hypothesis there is a powerful argument that those anatomical capabilities
> originally evolved for easier holding of breath under water or gulping of air on surfacing. The whole of culture then becomes
> an exaption.

Funny you mention Elaine Morgan. We recently (30 April this year) organized a symposium on the aquatic hypothesis here in Gent
and she was the first speaker. As a matter of fact the symposium was organized because via the sci.lang discussion list I got in
touch with Marc Verhaegen (another aquatic hypothesis defender) as the consequence of writing the language article together with
John Skoyles (you see how the web works!?).

Soon the proceedings and the report of the symposium will be on my website.

The picture I see at the moment is this: our musicality preadapted for language, also because it must have put a selective
pressure on better breath control (essential for spoken language). Then one should wonder why it is us who are such musical apes
(e.g. gibbons sing as well, but only bitonal or monotonously). Maybe this is because we already had some degree of breath
control, itself the consequence of aquatic adaptations. So, you might look at it as a sequence of reinforcing (pre)adaptations
increasing breath control, intonation and melody recognition and reproduction capacity and morphological changes (descended
larynx, vocal chords), eventually enabling speech.

>
>
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--
Mario Vaneechoutte
Department Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology & Immunology
University Hospital
De Pintelaan 185
9000 GENT
Belgium
Phone: +32 9 240 36 92
Fax: +32 9 240 36 59

Mario.Vaneechoutte@rug.ac.be

=============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit