ANTH 105 19-Nov-2009 Ch 14

ANTH 105 19-Nov-2009 Ch 14 - Ch14:EvolutionofBrainand...

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Ch 14: Evolution of Brain and  Behavior Language:  biology and  evolution Evolution of human behavior The evolutionary ecological  perspective on human  behavior Sexual selection and human  behavior
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Biology and evolution of language Language – a definition Language in the brain Language in the throat Language ability and the  fossil record Scenarios of language  evolution
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What is language? Language is the system whereby humans communicate – the way they  transfer information.  product of interactive networks in the brain. Spoken Semantic Phonemic Phonemes are the smallest meaningful elements of sound. There is no biological limit to the words that can be created from  phonemes.  No intrinsic association between a word and the object or concept it  signifies. Grammatical All languages have a grammar or implicit set of rules that govern the way  words are classified and defined. Children subconsciously assimilate the meaningful sounds and grammar of 
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Speech production and perception is localized in  the human brain The left Sylvian fissure or perisylvian language area is the seat  of language.  Prosodic (rhythmic) elements of language are associated with  the right hemisphere (language lateralization).
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Speech production and perception is localized in  the human brain Broca’s area in the frontal  lobe assists in speech  production. Damage = difficulty with  syntax Wernecke’s area assists in  comprehension. Damage = difficulty  remembering familiar words,  mistakes with their meanings
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Evidence for language in endocasts Endocasts of the skull can  show changes in brain  asymmetry associated with  Broca’s area. An endocast of a  H. habilis   (1470) brain indicates the  configuration of Broca’s area  is closer to that seen in  humans than to pongids. 
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Evidence for language in hyoid bones The hyoid bone in front part of throat is held in place by muscles  and ligaments. It is closely associated with the mandible and  larynx.
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Evidence for language in hyoid bones When recovered, its shape can tell whether it is more human- like (seen in Neandertals) or more ape-like (seen in  A.  afarensis ).
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Is language the crucial modern human adaptation? Example: language vs. writing: 1. All human societies have  language 2. Rudimentary technology ≠  rudimentary language 3. Most individuals are  linguistically competent 4. Teaching is not necessary
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Is language the crucial modern human adaptation? Language as a biological 
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This note was uploaded on 01/23/2010 for the course ANTH 105 taught by Professor Rizzo during the Fall '09 term at Ill. Chicago.

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ANTH 105 19-Nov-2009 Ch 14 - Ch14:EvolutionofBrainand...

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