History has never failed to disappoint mankind, instead, studying history is the only way to realize the purpose of existence. Linguistic capabilities are something all humans possess naturally, and they are one of the many capabilities that distinguish us from the other species on the planet. However, it gets really interesting when scientists dig into the history of mankind’s language.
It is not easy, figuring out the history behind the linguistic capabilities of humans. Humans’ ability to speak and processes a language is completely dependent on their brain. While fossils make it through thousands of years under tons of earth, the human mind decomposes much quicker. Hence, to study the history of the linguistic capabilities possessed by humans, scientists conducted a study in which they scanned the brains of human of the olden. It was instantly known that the human language is at least twenty-five million years old, and humans didn’t even exist back then. Earlier, it was thought that human language was not more than five million years old, but this new research has opened up new pathways for scientists. It is believed that all this time they had been looking at the wrong place.
It can be established that just like all other information in our brain, speech and language also have to be processed before they could start making sense. The study shows that the processing takes place in a language pathway that connects the auditory cortex and the frontal lobe of the brain.
Primates, other than humans, cannot speak any languages, and this capability stays unique to the human race. However, similar patterns were seen in the minds of other primates, as there were in humans. The research also highlights the transformation of the human language pathway. The study shows that the left side of this pathway appears to be stronger, while the right side of the brain pathway seems to include the parts of the brain that are not auditory, this shows that the right side has parted from the auditory evolutionary prototype.
The recent research was conducted on the brain scans that were already available publicly, though later, researchers came up with newer brain scans that were also made available globally, so that they made lead to further discovery. The authors believe that such discoveries about the human language pathway would inspire similar neurobiological studies. More detailed and precise studies are expected to come out in the future that will reveal facts regarding the history of speech and language of humans, as this study has merely directed the scientists towards the right path.
- Fabien Balezeau, Benjamin Wilson, Guillermo Gallardo, Fred Dick, William Hopkins, Alfred Anwander, Angela D. Friederici, Timothy D. Griffiths, Christopher I. Petkov. Primate auditory prototype in the evolution of the arcuate fasciculus. Nature Neuroscience, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41593-020-0623-9
The study involved Newcastle University, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UK; Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Germany; Birkbeck UCL Centre for NeuroImaging, UK; University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA; University of Iowa, USA.