Hypoglossal Canal Size in Living Hominoids and the Evolution of Human Speech

  title={Hypoglossal Canal Size in Living Hominoids and the Evolution of Human Speech},
  author={William L. Jungers and William L. Amy A Richard F Matt Pokempner and William L. Amy A Richard F Matt Kay and William L. Amy A Richard F Matt Cartmill},
  journal={Human Biology},
  pages={473 - 484}
The relative size of the hypoglossal canal has been proposed as a useful diagnostic tool for the identification of human-like speech capabilities in the hominid fossil record. Relatively large hypoglossal canals (standardized to oral cavity size) were observed in humans and assumed to correspond to relatively large hypoglossal nerves, the cranial nerve that controls motor function of the tongue. It was suggested that the human pattern of tongue motor innervation and associated speech potential… Expand
Homo sapiens, Chimpanzees and the Enigma of Language
The hypothesis that the anatomical bone structures of the oral cavity have probably evolved under the influence of language function is explored, with the conclusion that speech in humans must have played an important role in the aforementioned differences between humans and chimpanzees. Expand
Language and human evolution
  • R. Klein
  • Philosophy
  • Journal of Neurolinguistics
  • 2017
Abstract The fossil indications for speech, inferred from skull endocasts and from the anatomy of the vocal tract, the vertebral column, and the bony ear, suggest that there was a grade shift fromExpand
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The results show that the Australopithecus did probably not have a palate allowing the production of an articulated language, and Morphology of the hard palate compatible with this function seems present from the earliest fossils of the genus Homo. Expand
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The sophisticated feature of human speech allows us to turn much information encoded by language in the brain into sounds and to communicate it with others rapidly and efficiently. Human speech showsExpand
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Osteological cranial features, such as foramina, assist in phylogenetic and ecological interpretations of fossil mammals. However, the validity of using foramina in these interpretations when theirExpand
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Understanding the Dynamics of Primate Vocalization and Its Implications for the Evolution of Human Speech
The origin of language remains one of the most enigmatic issues for studies on human evolution and is a challenge that attracts many scholars. Any discussion of this issue has been taboo inExpand
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Trigeminal Nerve Morphology in Alligator mississippiensis and Its Significance for Crocodyliform Facial Sensation and Evolution
A cross‐sectional study integrating histological, morphometric, and 3D imaging analyses was conducted to identify patterns in cranial nervous and bony structures of Alligator mississippiensis, suggesting that phylogeny or somatosensory adaptations may be responsible for the variation in trigeminal ganglion and nerve size in crocodyliforms. Expand
The Relationship Between the Infraorbital Foramen, Infraorbital Nerve, and Maxillary Mechanoreception: Implications for Interpreting the Paleoecology of Fossil Mammals Based on Infraorbital Foramen Size
The strong positive correlation between the ION and IOF size suggests that, in the absence of nerve tissue, the IOF can serve as a proxy for ION area, and maybe used to evaluate differences in maxillary mechanoreception in both extinct and extant taxa. Expand


Hypoglossal canal size and hominid speech.
The data demonstrate that the size of the hypoglossal canal does not reflect vocal capabilities or language usage, and the date of origin for human language and the speech capabilities of Neandertals remain open questions. Expand
The hypoglossal canal and the origin of human vocal behavior.
  • R. Kay, M. Cartmill, M. Balow
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1998
The anatomical findings suggest that the vocal capabilities of Neanderthals were the same as those of humans today and that human vocal abilities may have appeared much earlier in time than the first archaeological evidence for symbolic behavior. Expand
Language, Handedness, and Primate Brains: Did the Australopithecines Sign?
Contrary to the gestural hypothesis, right-handedness (which could not have preceded freeing of the hands) succeeded speech and may have been due to selective pressures for increased complexity of communication, causing a Field Effect upon the brain. Expand
The basicranium of Plio-Pleistocene hominids as an indicator of their upper respiratory systems.
Craniometric analysis of the basicrania of the Plio-Pleistocene hominids showed that they had marked similarities to those of extant pongids, suggesting that the upper respiratory systems of these groups were also alike in appearance. Expand
The ontogeny of cranial base angulation in humans and chimpanzees and its implications for reconstructing pharyngeal dimensions.
Test the hypothesis that cranial base angulation influences pharyngeal dimensions and can, therefore, be used to estimate vocal tract proportions in fossil hominids and results indicate that internal and external Cranial base angles are independent of the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the vocal tract. Expand
The evolution of speech: a comparative review
  • W. Fitch
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2000
Comparative analysis of living species provides a viable alternative to fossil data for understanding the evolution of speech, and suggests that the neural basis for vocal mimicry and for mimesis in general remains unknown. Expand
The evolution of human speech: the role of enhanced breathing control.
Evidence presented herein shows that modern humans and Neanderthals have an expanded thoracic vertebral canal compared with australopithecines and Homo ergaster, who had canals of the same relative size as extant nonhuman primates. Expand
Did the Australopithecines Sing?
Some years ago Hockett and Ascher (CA 5:135-68) developed several hypotheses as to how and when human language evolved from a primate call system. Their blending hypothesis for the opening of theExpand
An Introduction to Human Evolutionary Anatomy
An Introduction to the Fossil Record, Classification and Phylogenetic Reconstruction. Anatomical Nomenclature. The Microanatomy of Muscle and Bone. The Bones of the Skull. The Comparative Anatomy ofExpand
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It is shown that human FOXP2 contains changes in amino-acid coding and a pattern of nucleotide polymorphism, which strongly suggest that this gene has been the target of selection during recent human evolution. Expand