Re: Human Language. (long post)

Tom Clarke (
2 Jan 1997 09:42:47 -0500

Michael McBroom <> writes:

>Thomas Clarke wrote:

>> It could be that language is a result of sexual selection.

>> No doubt H.erectus had some rudimentary vocalization capabilities.

> While H. erectus almost certainly did not have full-blown
>language, he almost certainly did have some sort of "protolanguage"
>capability (cf. Bickerton [1990]),

I agreed with that.

>Secondly, the human vocal tract, which in its present configuration is
>an *absolutely necessary* component for articulate speech, represents
>too many hazards and compromises *not* to have had strong selectional

The same can be said for the peacock's tail, the bird of paradise's tail,
the color of the male cardinal, deer antlers and lots of other strange
phenotyopic features that are the result only of sexual selection.

Just a modest suggestion with only low, but non-zero probability of truth.

>Every time you swallow a mouthful of food, or gulp down a mouthful of
>liquid, you run the risk of choking. Every other mammal in existence
>has the "standard plan" vocal tract

Be careful here. Aquatic mammals do not have the standard vocal tract
plan. But I don't want to open that contentious topic in this

Tom Clarke

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet - Shakespeare