Re: Speech in H. erectus

Alex Duncan (
11 Jul 1995 21:53:28 GMT

In article <herwin-0907952138020001@> Harry Erwin, writes:

>2. The flat base of the skull indicating that there was insufficient room
>for a laryngial tract that could support complex language, and
>3. The conical chest shape (similar to that of Lucy and better adapted to
>climbing than our enlarged chest) that indicates he lacked chest volume.

about pts. 2 & 3:
2) I have difficulty with the idea that our morphological
adaptations for speech really put a limit on our capacity to transmit
symbolic content. After all, deaf/mutes are capable of communication
every bit as complex as the rest of us are. I suspect the neurological
capabilities are far more important.
3) Jellema LM, Latimer B & Walker A have recently reconstructed
the thorax to be more human like. I don't know why the original
interpretation was a more conically shaped thorax. Alan Walker makes a
big deal about this. He thinks Lucy's thorax indicates a big gut (lots
of vegetable material be processed). You might want to check the
Walker/Leakey book about the WT 15k skeleton.

Alex Duncan
Dept. of Anthropology
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1086