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Music, Language, and the Brain$
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Aniruddh D. Patel

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195123753

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195123753.001.0001

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Evolution

Evolution

Chapter:
(p.353) 7 Evolution
Source:
Music, Language, and the Brain
Author(s):

Aniruddh D. Patel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195123753.003.0007

Compared to other species and through examination from an evolutionary perspective, the only known species that is able to understand, create, and appreciate music is Homo sapiens. Although there may have been relevant evidence that prove how animals such as pygmy chimpanzees are able to recognize and comprehend simple syntax and vocabulary, there is no proof that animals are able to make use of a language-like communicative system, whether it is based on gestural signals or vocal communication. Also, while we initially perceive how some species may produce sounds that seem musical, we have to note that they are like humans in a sense that they only learn their songs by listening to adults. Examining the birds, whales, and other animals that produce “songs” shows that their songs are determined by biological factors. This chapter examines how music and language may or may not be the direct target of selection in human beings.

Keywords:   evolution, Homo sapiens, birds, whales, animals, songs, biological factors, selection

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