Prelinguistic evolution in early hominins: Whence motherese?

  title={Prelinguistic evolution in early hominins: Whence motherese?},
  author={Dean Falk},
  journal={Behavioral and Brain Sciences},
  pages={491 - 503}
  • D. Falk
  • Published 1 August 2004
  • Psychology, Biology
  • Behavioral and Brain Sciences
In order to formulate hypotheses about the evolutionary underpinnings that preceded the first glimmerings of language, mother-infant gestural and vocal interactions are compared in chimpanzees and humans and used to model those of early hominins. These data, along with paleoanthropological evidence, suggest that prelinguistic vocal substrates for protolanguage that had prosodic features similar to contemporary motherese evolved as the trend for enlarging brains in late australopithecines/early… 

Functionally Flexible Signaling and the Origin of Language

At the earliest break of ancient hominins from their primate relatives in vocal communication, it is hypothesize that hominin parents invested more in infants who produced such signals of fitness plentifully, neglecting or abandoning them less often than infants who produce the sounds less frequently.

Development + Social Selection in the Emergence of “Emotionally Modern” Humans

Results indicate that rearing by multiple caretakers does indeed generate ape phenotypes in which “other-regarding” potentials are more fully expressed, and preliminary evidence from comparative neuroscience suggests a mosaic pattern of “fast” as well as “slow” neural development in human infants consistent with the proposition that social selection acted on their ancestors in ways that produced infants that were well equipped to monitor and evaluate others.

A shift toward birthing relatively large infants early in human evolution

  • J. DeSilva
  • Biology, Psychology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2011
The results of this study suggest that 4.4-4-Myr-old Ardipithecus possessed IMMRs similar to those found in African apes, indicating that a low IMMR is the primitive condition in hominids.

Ardipithecus ramidus and the evolution of language and singing: An early origin for hominin vocal capability.

  • G. ClarkM. Henneberg
  • Biology
    Homo : internationale Zeitschrift fur die vergleichende Forschung am Menschen
  • 2017

Music and Evolution: Consequences and Causes

Music is definable in a broad sense as embodying, entraining and transposably intentionalising time in sound and action. Human infants, in infant–caregiver interaction, and in childhood patterns of

Language and life history: a new perspective on the development and evolution of human language.

The life history model offers new ways of investigating, and thinking about, the evolution, development, and ultimately the nature of human language.

The origins of babytalk: smiling, teaching or social convergence?

It is shown that infant- but not adult-directed speech contains acoustically exaggerated vowels, and these are the product of a shortened vocal tract due to a raised larynx, which can be ascribed to speakers' unconscious effort to appear smaller and more non-threatening to the young infant.

The Evolving Science of Language Evolution

Cognitive biologist W. Tecumseh Fitch approaches what Christiansen & Kirby (2003) have called " the hardest problem in science " , that of determining how humans developed the unique capacity for language, from the perspective that modern linguistics and biology have made it possible to refine earlier proposals but have not generated many truly new ideas.

The Evolving Science of Language Evolution

Concomitant with the ascendance of biolinguistics on the research agenda, the evolution of language has garnered considerable interest in the past decade. The Evolution of Language by cognitive



Brains evolution and neurolinguistic preconditions

It is suggested that the neural preconditions for language are met in H. habilis and advocated a theory of language acquisition that uses conceptual structure as input to the learning procedures, thus bridging the gap between it and language.

Teaching among wild chimpanzees

The Social Behavior of Chimpanzees and Bonobos: Empirical Evidence and Shifting Assumptions1

As our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos have been widely used as models of the behavior of early hominids. In recent years, as information on the social behavior and ecology of

A Comparison of the Gestural Communication of Apes and Human Infants

The naturally occurring gestures of chimpanzees and prelinguistic human infants are compared. Considered as special cases are apes raised by humans as they gesture to humans, and children with

Brain evolution relating to family, play, and the separation call.

  • P. Maclean
  • Biology, Psychology
    Archives of general psychiatry
  • 1985
Recent findings suggest that the development of the behavioral triad in question may have depended on the evolution of the thalamocingulate division of the limbic system, a derivative from early mammals.

Language capacities of nonhuman animals

This paper reviews the language analogue studies with great apes and cetaceans, examining the utility of the different methods and reviewing the animals' accomplishments, and concluding that chimpanzees and bonobos do not threaten human uniqueness with respect to speech and language.

Primate Communication and the Gestural Origin of Language

  • G. Hewes
  • Psychology
    Current Anthropology
  • 1992
Wallace, Tylor, Wundt, Johannesson, and others have proposed that human language had its basis in hand and arm gestures. The Gardners' work with the chimpanzee Washoe, Premack's study of the

Language comprehension in ape and child.

Comparisons of the language comprehension skills of a 2-year-old child and an 8 year-old bonobo who was raised in a language environment similar to that in which children are raised but specifically modified to be appropriate for an ape suggest that the potential for language comprehension preceded the appearance of speech by several million years at minimum.

The Child's Path to Spoken Language.

Progressing gradually from babbling to meaningful sentences is something most babies do naturally. But why is that? What gives infants this remarkable capacity, and what in the world - or in the mind