Re: Archaic H. sapiens???

Ralph L Holloway (
Mon, 6 Jan 1997 11:40:45 -0500

On Mon, 6 Jan 1997, Michael McBroom wrote:
> good communication system. The morphology of the Neanderthal palate and
> basicranial area, however, indicates that his vowel and consonant
> inventory was much more limited than ours. So, it seems more likely to
> me that, while Neanderthal had a fairly sophisticated vocal
> communication system, something that would enable him to contemplate
> past and future, something that would allow the elders of the society to
> pass on their wisdom to the younger members, it was still something that
> fell well short of what we call language. There seems to be one
> pervasive -- and crucial -- characteristic of modern language that
> Neanderthal may have lacked: improvisation, invention, originality . . .
> call it what you will.

The morphology of the Neandertal palate and basicranium simply cannot
prove anything about the range of sounds that Neandertals were capable of.
You can certainly hypothesise that such might have been the case, but to
state that it is proven goes much too far. And how in the world do you
derive this knowledge about their lack of improvisation, originality,
"call it what you will", when you cannot make any relationship between
these cognitive faculties and the palate, basicranium, hyoid bone, missing
cartilage, or even the brain endocasts which show no primitive
characteristics. The stone tools of the Australian aborigines were pretty
scrappy, and if you only went by them, would you say they lacked
improvisation, invention, originality?
Ralph Holloway