Neuroscientists have discovered parts of the language way responsible for speech in the brain of primates, which are separated from the branch of great apes 25 million years ago. The study is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
Although speech and language are unique to humans, it is believed that the basis for auditory cognition and voice communication appeared in the brain of the common ancestor of apes and humans, and it happened about five million years ago.
Scientists from Europe and the United States conducted an analysis of the auditory areas and pathways in humans and various monkeys, not only humanoid, but also those of the evolutionary path are separated with hominoidae 25 million years ago, and representatives of all branches of primates found in the brains of so-called site language path that links the auditory cortex with regions of the frontal lobes are important for processing speech and language.
“I admit that we were amazed to see such a path in the auditory system of nonhuman primates — are in the press release from Newcastle University, the head of research, Professor of medicine Chris Petkov (Petkov Chris). We predicted this, but couldn’t be sure whether human language the way so long evolutionary basis”.
For neuroscientists, the method of comparative study of the peculiarities of the physiology of related species is comparable to finding fossils used by paleontologists. Comparing the brain of living primates and humans, biologists are judged on how, what were their common ancestors.
Now they understand that the origins of this unique tool, as a language used by people for communication and learning, lay a very long time. But in the brain what is representative of ancient mammals that happened, scientists do not yet know.
“It will be like finding a long lost ancestor, says Petkov. It’s amazing that he can be even a more ancient origin, which remains to be seen”.
Scientists were also able to detect the key difference between auditory and linguistic features of the human brain — the left side was stronger than the right, which, as scientists believe, in the process of evolution has deviated from the auditory evolutionary prototype, and it was involved in a linguistic way nalogovye part of the brain.
The study was based on brain scans of humans and other primates from public resources of the global scientific community. The authors hope that their discovery will inspire scientists to fill these databases with new results of the scans that will allow neuroscientists to continue the search for the origins of the origin of human speech and find out what other animals in the brain of the fragments of a language way.
“This discovery has great potential for understanding which aspects of auditory cognition and human language can be studied in animal models because it is impossible to do directly on people or monkeys,” said first author Timothy Griffiths (Timothy Griffiths), a consultant neurologist from Newcastle University.