Genetic mutation makes speaking possible
Man is the only living creature on Earth that can speak. This distinguishes him from animals and plants. Of course animals and plants also communicate with each other. However, they do not speak a complex syllable language. But why can man speak? Certain physical features are needed in order to be able to speak. These physical features are only found in humans. However, that does not necessarily mean that man developed them. In evolutionary history, nothing happens without a reason. Somewhere along the line, man began to speak. We do not yet know when exactly that was. But something must have happened that gave man speech. Researchers believe that a genetic mutation was responsible. Anthropologists have compared the genetic material of various living beings. It is well known that a particular gene influences speech. People in which it is damaged have problems with speech. They can't express themselves well and have a hard time understanding words. This gene was examined in people, apes, and mice. It is very similar in humans and chimpanzees. Only two small differences can be identified. But these differences make their presence known in the brain. Together with other genes, they influence certain brain activities. Thus humans can speak, whereas apes cannot. However, the riddle of the human language is not yet solved. For the gene mutation alone is not enough to enable speech. Researchers implanted the human gene variant in mice. It didn't give them the ability to speak… But their squeaks made quite a racket!
© Copyright Goethe Verlag GmbH 2020. All rights reserved.