By Rudolf Botha, Chris Knight

ISBN-10: 0199545855

ISBN-13: 9780199545858

ISBN-10: 0199545863

ISBN-13: 9780199545865

This publication is the 1st to target the African origins of human language. It explores the origins of language and tradition 250,000-150,000 years in the past whilst glossy people advanced in Africa. students from around the globe tackle the fossil, genetic, and archaeological facts and seriously study the methods it's been interpreted. The publication additionally considers parellel advancements between Europe's Neanderthals and the contrasting results for the 2 species. Following an intensive creation contextualizing and linking the book's themes and techniques, fifteen chapters assemble the various most vital contemporary findings and advancements in glossy human origins study. The fields represented via the authors contain genetics, biology, behavioural ecology, linguistics, archaeology, cognitive technological know-how, and anthropology.

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When symbolic codes are embodied in material culture, the link between meaning and referent becomes not only arbitrary but also, as with sounds in language, artiWcially created. This freedom from natural constraints allows the members Earliest personal ornaments and their signiWcance 37 of a social group to locate symbols in strategic locations and spatially—if not syntactically—to organise the links between them. Apes are able to learn referential symbols and represent other minds in socially competitive contexts (Byrne 1995; Rumbaugh and Washburn 2003; Tomasello et al.

And, as archeologists, we do not need to Wrst identify the cognitive structures involved in order to establish a link between, for example, communication skills and material culture. To be even more provocative, we do not need to propose a model for the cognitive changes that led to a given innovation before we can detect this innovation in the archeological record and make inferences about the role it may have played in the past. Scenarios shaped by other disciplines concerning the origin of cognitive innovations are of course vital.

Chimpanzees clearly have the capacity to develop and transmit cultural traditions (Whiten 2005), but in the wild they have never been observed creating systems of symbols, displaying them on the body, or embodying them in their material culture. We argue that symbolic items with no utilitarian purpose, created for visual display on the body, and the meaning of which is permanently shared by the members of a community, represent a quintessential archeological proxy for the use of language or, at least, of an equally complex communication system.

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The Cradle of Language by Rudolf Botha, Chris Knight


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