According to an AP report
today, an unusually complete skeleton of a "Lucy"-like Australopithecus
Afarensis child from 3.3M years ago has been found.
The AP article is strangely sensible on the issue of language, citing
Fred Spoor, Professor of Evolutionary Anatomy at UCL, without
converting the quote into anything silly:
fossil revealed just the second hyoid bone to be recovered from any
human ancestor. This tiny bone, which attaches to the tongue muscles,
is very chimp-like in the new specimen, Spoor said.
While that doesn't directly
reveal anything about language, it does suggest that whatever sounds
the creature made ``would appeal more to a chimpanzee mother than a
human mother,'' Spoor said.
However, where the press fails, Language Log can step in. Based on the
vocal possibilities resulting from a mis-shapen hyoid, hyper-rhoticity could be indicated. It follows that Prof. Spoor has
overlooked a class of human mother to whom the kid would have been
strangely attractive, and, as the final commemorative act of a linguistically important day
, I offer the following reconstruction...
Posted by David Beaver at September 21, 2006 12:31 AM