Monday, 12 December 2016

Why can't monkeys speak? Vocal anatomy is not the problem



Date: December 9, 2016
Source: University of Vienna

Monkeys and apes are unable to learn new vocalizations, and for decades it has been widely believed that this inability results from limitations of their vocal anatomy: larynx, tongue and lips.

But an international team of scientists, led by Tecumseh Fitch at the University of Vienna and Asif Ghazanfar at Princeton University, has now looked inside monkeys' vocal tracts with x-rays, and found them to be much more flexible than thought before. The study indicates that the limitations that keep nonhuman primates from speaking are in their brains, rather than their vocal anatomy.

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