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The Prehistory of Language$
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Rudolf Botha and Chris Knight

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545872

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545872.001.0001

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Why only humans have language

Why only humans have language

Chapter:
(p.12) 2 Why only humans have language
Source:
The Prehistory of Language
Author(s):

Robin Dunbar

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545872.003.0002

This chapter has three main objectives. First, it briefly summarizes the reasons why language might have evolved, and what we are to make of these. It then considers what this has to tell us about why only the hominin lineage evolved the capacity for language. Finally, it revisits the author's previous analyses (Aiello and Dunbar 1993) on the timing of language evolution in the hominin fossil record using new estimates for all the equations involved, in order to explore the sequence by which language might have evolved, and the transitional states involved.

Keywords:   language development, language capacity evolution, hominins

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