On the Kebara KMH 2 Hyoid and Neanderthal Speech

  • Lieberman P
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Abstract

Bar-Yosef et al.'s assertion that the KMH 2 hyoid bone demonstrates that Neanderthal hominids were capable of producing human speech (CA 33:530) evidence and interpretations. chaeology 6:263-96. THROPOLOGY 3 I:58-59. DIBBLE, and modem human origins, CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY 3 I:24I-43. . I990. On the emergence H., AND P. G. CHASE. VAN LAWICK-GOODALL, Boston: Houghton LINDLY, MC COWN, T. I937. "Mugharet Cambridge: man origins. TELEKI, Mifflin. . I986. The chimpanzees . I987. Middle Paleolithic symbolism: Journal of modern of Anthropological A review of current Ar- humans. CURRENT AN- I990. Comment on: Symbolism by J. M. Lindly and G. A. Clark. J., AND G. CLARK. I990. Symbolism CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY 3I:233-6i. Belknap Press of Harvard vations," in The Stone Age of Mount Carmel, by D. Garrod and D. Bate, pp. 9I-I07. Oxford: es-Skhuil: tologica 20:8I-94. VANDERMEERSCH, a chimpanzee GEZA. I973. Group response to the accidental death of in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Folia Prima- Clarendon traces d'utilisation verte dans la grotte tin de la Societe Prehistorique Fran9aise 66: I 5 7-5 8. . I970. Une sepulture dans le Moust6rien mousterienne des Sciences, Paris 270:298-99. Description Press. B. I969. Decouverte d'un objet en ocre avec de Qafzeh (Israel). Bulle- de Qafzeh. Comptes Rendus de l'Academie avec offrandes decou- JANE. I97I. In the shadow of man. of Gombe: Patterns University and modem hu- and exca- of behavior. Press. iS, in fact, not supported by the data of the studies cited (e.g., Arens- burg et al. I989, 1990) or Smith's commentary (CA 33:540-4I). tioned very low in the neck, with no epiglottis-soft- palate contact. Independent Normal adult humans have a larynx posi- X-ray studies (e.g., Carmody I937, Perkell I969, Nearey I97I) show that approxi- mately half of the tongue is positioned at rest within the oral cavity, half in the pharynx. In the production of English vowels the tongue moves as an almost unde- formed body positioned by its extrinsic muscles (Neary I971). Some additional maneuvers that change the tongue shape occur in the production of certain conso- nants and the vowels of other languages, but many of the phonetic distinctions of human speech derive from tongue maneuvers that change the cross-sectional area of the supralaryngeal airway, i.e., the supralaryngeal vo- cal tract. These changing shapes generate formant fre- quency patterns that specify different speech sounds (Fant I960, Lieberman et al. n.d.). The larynx itself is irrelevant to this aspect of speech production; its low position in the neck is a key aspect of the morphology of the human supralaryngeal vocal tract.

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Authors

  • Philip Lieberman

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