Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rare Primate's Vocal Lip-Smacks Share Features of Human Speech

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. more

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