One of the most daunting question amongst us humans is how we developed such a complex language as opposed to the other animals. Research has shown that we used to make simple grunts. So, how did we move from that until now we can make full complete words?
A newly published study claims to have found an explanation for the whole thing.
The Durham University researchers made an analysis of the orangutan “kiss squeaks” with the intention of understanding this peculiar transformation. Among the study findings is that apes make noise for their communication, much like we do. The researchers thinking is that this discovery will greatly help shed some light on how we transformed from rudimentary language to the Earth’s most advanced form of communication, reports BBC.
Dr Andriano Reis e Lameira, who co-authored the paper published in Nature Human Behaviour, said that they have a strong belief words have their roots on rudimentary precursor. “We were basically using the orangutan vocal behavior as a time machine – back to a time when our ancestors were using what would become [those precursors] of consonants and vowels.”
Apes have a variety of vocalizations such as “grumphing” noises every time they are close to each other and booming bellows whenever they are farer away from each other. But the researchers’ attention was particularly captured by a unique sound produced referred to as “kiss squeak” considering the manner in which the orangutans produce it.
Just as we usually make the consonants sounds, the kiss squeak is a product of lips, tongue and jaw actions rather than the voice.
The study experts listened to hours of communication amongst 48 apes located in different world population. They learnt that the orangutans combined the kiss squeaks in a number of ways, much likened to how we can use multiple words for a single meaning. Their paper notes that the orangutans communicated in different ways but meant the same thing.
“They seemed to make doubly sure that the message was received, so they would send the same message with different [kiss squeak combination] signals,” said Prof Wich.