Speech and the Neanderthals

Baruch Arensburg, Anne Marie Tillier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to communicate by speech was a crucial step in human evolution and there has been much controversy concerning the point at which it occurred. The recent discovery at Kebara of a well-preserved hyoid bone some 60000 years old suggests that Neanderthal man had developed the anatomical structures necessary to articulate words. This in itself does not prove that such articulation occurred. But contributory evidence, such as endocranial casts indicates that the necessary brain differentiation had also developed. Further, what we know of the social organisation of Neanderthals suggests that some form of communication by speech was necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-28
Number of pages3
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991


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