September 21, 2006


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:

The 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...

Pirate skull

Posted by David Beaver at September 21, 2006 12:31 AM