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Why we can speak and chimps can’t

Chimp does HamletA new study in Nature reveals a mutation in a common gene that may help explain why humans developed the ability to speak, while chimps did not. The article also mentions physical differences similar to those mentioned in Marvellous Hairy, as Nick morphs from full human to part monkey:

Frances Vargha-Khadem, head of developmental cognitive neuroscience at the University College London, who wasn’t part of the research, said the study “is very much in line with what we had always suspected.”

Ms. Vargha-Khadem has studied people with other inherited mutations in the gene and their speech and language problems. People with a certain mutation have subtle physical differences in the lower part of the jaw, the tongue and roof of the mouth, and she suspects chimps do, too.

That physical part is important because “you can’t produce the dance unless you have the feet to do the dance,” she said.

Read the full story at the Globe and Mail. Photo by King Chimp.