Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Researchers: Monkey Lip-Smacking Resembles Human Speech

Thore Bergman, a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, has discovered that monkey lip-smacking resembles human speech.

According to National Geographic, gelada monkeys reside in the high mountain meadows of Ethiopa, where they have adapted to living on steep, rocky cliffs. The 100,000 to 200,000 surviving geladas are also the last remaining species of ancient grazing primates. The rare monkeys have fatty rear ends which allow them to sit and eat grass for long periods of time.

A news release from Cell Press notes that the gelada is the only nonhuman primate that communicates with a “speech-like, undulating rhythm.” According to Bergman, the sounds that other monkeys and apes make are usually one or two syllables. The gelada’s lip-smacking vocalizations also lack quick changes in pitch and volume.

According to Bergman, the lip-smacking behavior, which is shown during friendly interactions with other geladas, could have been an evolutionary step toward human speech.


Full story here.
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