Scientists who wanted to investigate the evolution of language scanned the brains of chimpanzee and macaque monkeys. As a result of examining the scans, it was understood that the evolution of language goes back 25 million years.
The brains of living beings are not fossilized, unlike their bones. The fact that the brain is not fossilized prevents scientists from studying the history of this organ. Studies that cannot be done about the history of the brain also make it difficult to look back on the evolution of the human.
Scientists have been arguing about how people started talking for a long time. If scientists had an old brain in their hands, this debate could quickly resolve. Curious about the origin of the language, scientists decided to study animals that resemble extinct human ancestors.
Curious about how people started talking, researchers from the UK scanned the monkey species and the brains of the people. In the analysis of the scans, homologous pathways in the auditory cortex of the brain were identified.
The origin of the tongue in the brain turned out to be 20 million older than previous estimates. Previous studies claimed that the language’s origin in the brain dates back 5 million years. The study in England shows that language has an adventure of 25 million years in the brain.
As a result of the research, a common point was found between human and monkey brains. Speech and language brain pathways were found in the monkey brain as well as in the human brain. The fact that the monkeys’ brain has a section on the development of the language shows that the evolution of the language began much earlier than thought.
Scientists previously thought that language began to evolve 5 million years ago, when the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees was last seen. Now, the appearance of this brain section in different monkey species shows that the language began to evolve at least 25 million years ago.
A common brain section for language was discovered in humans and monkeys
This curved fascicular part of the monkeys and humans is a nerve pathway that connects the nerve bundles and the areas of the recipient and donor tongue. In the research, this structure was searched in the brain of the monkeys.
Scientists think that before that, the brain of people should be examined to reveal the evolution of language. Neuropsychology professor Christopher Petrov and his team wondered whether such a structure is also in monkeys, one of the researchers of the new research conducted in England.
Petrov and his team predicted that the language-responsible brain pathway is in the auditory cortex of the brain. Therefore, chimpanzees, macaque monkeys, and auditory cortexes of the brains of humans were scanned and the area responsible for the language was searched.
After examining the brain scans, it was seen that chimpanzees, macaque monkeys and people shared this brain structure responsible for language. Scientists have found that the left side of this brain pathway in humans is stronger and the right side contains the auditory parts of the brain. The structure in macaque monkeys and chimpanzees was different from that in humans.
While this study by scientists enlightens a significant part of human evolution, it has consequences that can help people today. Petkov said his work will guide studies on people suffering from paralysis, or brain degeneration affected neurology, to lose their language abilities.