Navigation Links
MIT: No easy answers in evolution of human language
Date:2/17/2008

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. The evolution of human speech was far more complex than is implied by some recent attempts to link it to a specific gene, says Robert Berwick, professor of computational linguistics at MIT.

Berwick will describe his ideas about language in a session at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Sunday, Feb. 17. The session is called Mind of a Toolmaker, and explores the use of evolutionary research in understanding human abilities.

Some researchers in recent years have speculated that mutations in a gene called Foxp2 might have played a fundamental role in the evolution of human language. That was based on research showing that the gene seems to be connected to language ability because some mutations to that gene produce specific impairments to language use, and because our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, lack both these gene mutations and the capacity for language. But the claim that the gene mutation is directly connected to the development of language is very unlikely to be right, says Berwick, who holds appointments in MITs Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

This kind of straightforward connection is just not the way organisms are put together, he says. When it comes to something as complex as language, one would be hard-pressed to come up with an example less amenable to evolutionary study. And the specific Foxp2 connection is based on a whole chain of events, each of which is speculative, so theres little chance of the whole story being right.

Its so chaotic, its like weather forecasting, he says. The noise overwhelms the signal.

Rather, language is almost certainly the result of a far more complex and subtle interplay among a variety of factors, Berwick says, and it may never be possible to connect it to specific genetic changes. There are some things in science that are ver
'/>"/>

Contact: Elizabeth Thomson
thomson@mit.edu
617-258-5402
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Fungus genome yielding answers to protect grains, people and animals
2. Dartmouth researchers find the root of the evolutionary emergence of vertebrates
3. Tomato pathogen genome may offer clues about bacterial evolution at dawn of agriculture
4. Oldest Australian crayfish fossils provide missing evolutionary link
5. Lessons from evolution applied to national security and other threats
6. Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa commits 180M to revive farmers depleted soils
7. Biophysical Society to host discussions on the teaching of evolution and on the energy crisis
8. Gene Networks in Animal Development and Evolution Feb. 15 and 16
9. Snoozing worms help Penn researchers explain the evolution of sleep
10. Evolution of the sexes: What a fungus can tell us
11. New book reveals an evolutionary journey of the human body
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/10/2015)... -- Continuing its 167-year history of offering the Best, the ... Eye Scanning Password Authenticator , a device that confirms ... or sensitive data. Employing the same biometric ... device has a small camera that scans and saves ... them into an encrypted ID that cannot be forged ...
(Date:3/10/2015)... March 10, 2015  NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on the ... smart wallet has been named the "Number One ... Rethink Modern ( http://www.rethinkmodern.com/ ) is ... your home and lifestyle that have a unique function ...
(Date:3/3/2015)... March 3, 2015 Cryoport, Inc. ... advanced cryogenic logistics solutions for the life ... cells, cell lines, clinical research organizations, vaccine ... announced the expansion of its relationship with ... ("Fred Hutch") Clinical Research Division with the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Hammacher Schlemmer Introduces The Eye Scanning Password Authenticator 2NXT-ID's Wocket Smart Wallet Named Number One Best Tech Gift for 2015 by Rethink Modern 2NXT-ID's Wocket Smart Wallet Named Number One Best Tech Gift for 2015 by Rethink Modern 3NXT-ID's Wocket Smart Wallet Named Number One Best Tech Gift for 2015 by Rethink Modern 4Cryoport, Inc. Expands Support of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Clinical Research Division 2Cryoport, Inc. Expands Support of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's Clinical Research Division 3
... cancer,patients have an abnormality in a specific cell ... pathway may be,especially effective for treating the disease, ... D. Anderson Cancer Center.", , A clearer picture ... 3 kinase (PI3K),pathway to breast cancer development, says ...
... large, multisite trial designed to examine the safety ... to prevent HIV infection has opened to volunteer ... of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of ... among various research institutions in Africa and the ...
... brain-clogging deposits that cause such disorders as Alzheimer's ... out how to capture and "micromanipulate" the single ... aim is to understand the detailed assembly process ... basic understanding, they said, could lead to approaches ...
Cached Biology News: MetaChip provides quick, efficient toxicity screening of potential drugs 2Duke Chemists Isolating Individual Molecules Of Toxic Protein In Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease 2
(Date:3/27/2015)... WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc. (NYSE: ... technology platform company serving the global pharmaceutical, biotechnology, ... Investigational New Drug (IND) application for WuXi MedImmune,s ... been accepted for review by the China Food ... September 2012, MedImmune, the global biologics research and ...
(Date:3/26/2015)... WARREN, N.J., March 26, 2015  Roka Bioscience, ... company focused on providing advanced testing solutions for ... financial results for the three months and full ... Quarter 2014 Financial Results:Revenue for the quarter ended ... $689,000 for the fourth quarter of 2013 and ...
(Date:3/26/2015)... (PRWEB) March 26, 2015 The Market ... formed a strategic alliance with Designing Gig LLC to ... clients. , “Forging this alliance with Designing ... Now we can extend a comprehensive, end-to-end, digital solution ... strategy, and execution,” said Chuck Miller, president of The ...
(Date:3/26/2015)... Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG ) announced today that its ... which ended Feb. 28, increased 13% to $7,454,000, when ... in the current quarter were $0.20, compared to $0.18 ... over prior year to $24,142,000, or $0.65 per share, ... same period a year ago. Revenues for ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Investigational New Drug Application for WuXi MedImmune's Monoclonal Antibody Accepted for Review by CFDA 2Investigational New Drug Application for WuXi MedImmune's Monoclonal Antibody Accepted for Review by CFDA 3Roka Bioscience Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Financial Results 2Roka Bioscience Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Financial Results 3Roka Bioscience Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Financial Results 4Roka Bioscience Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Financial Results 5Roka Bioscience Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Financial Results 6Roka Bioscience Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Financial Results 7The Market Element LLC and Designing Gig LLC Form Strategic Alliance 2Neogen reports 13% increase in net income 2Neogen reports 13% increase in net income 3Neogen reports 13% increase in net income 4Neogen reports 13% increase in net income 5Neogen reports 13% increase in net income 6Neogen reports 13% increase in net income 7Neogen reports 13% increase in net income 8
... LLC ( http://www.trimarkpublications.com ), a global leader in the ... newly published Regenerative Medicine Markets report that ... $3 billion in 2010 and is expected to reach ... to treat injuries and diseases with specially-grown tissues by ...
... YOKOHAMA, Japan, September 1, 2010 ... ... ... keyed by longUrl, so we need to grab the first one. for (var r in data.results) { ...
... ... if (typeof(lpUnit)==,undefined,) var lpUnit=,PRN,; ... var shortURL = ""; BitlyCB.alertResponse = function(data) { var ... first one. for (var r in data.results) { first_result = data.results[r]; break; } for (var key in ...
Cached Biology Technology:Regenerative Medicine Market Expected to Reach $4.5 Billion by 2014 2ReproCELL Announces New Line of Services in Neuronal Research Using Human iPS Cells 2ReproCELL Announces New Line of Services in Neuronal Research Using Human iPS Cells 3ReproCELL Announces New Line of Services in Neuronal Research Using Human iPS Cells 4ReproCELL Announces New Line of Services in Neuronal Research Using Human iPS Cells 5ReproCELL Announces New Line of Services in Neuronal Research Using Human iPS Cells 6Medisafe 1 Technologies Announces 1-5 Stock Dividend 2Medisafe 1 Technologies Announces 1-5 Stock Dividend 3Medisafe 1 Technologies Announces 1-5 Stock Dividend 4Medisafe 1 Technologies Announces 1-5 Stock Dividend 5Medisafe 1 Technologies Announces 1-5 Stock Dividend 6
... and easy to use Ascent ... all members of the Ascent ... a clear and easy-to-follow approach ... user-friendly and highly sophisticated data ...
... Lambda Protein Phosphatase ... Mn2+-dependent protein phosphatase with ... threonine and tyrosine residues. ... amino-acid product of the ...
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme [Porcine Kidney, ACE, Peptidyl-dipeptidase A]...
Oven mesh sheets, large, 23 x 23cm, pack of 5...
Biology Products: