Monkeys should be able to speak like we do, but are unable to do so for this small reason

We have always wondered how different we are from our primate ancestors. We got a smaller, yet better brain, ability to walk upright (though we lost that awesome tail) and most importantly, the ability to speak. This ability has enabled us to evolve in a way that has brought us to where we are. But a recent study found something interesting about monkeys and their vocal tracts. Read on to find out.

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1 The study to see if monkeys can speak

A talented team of internationally renowned scientists recently performed a study on the ability of macaques to speak like humans. Since they share more than 90% of DNA with us, scientists were curious as to why they didn’t get the ability speak during the evolution, but humans who evolved from monkeys can speak and developed languages during the same time. The scientists looked into X-Ray videos and record the movements of lips, tongue and larynx when they make noises. The data gathered from this study was fed into a computer and that computer program managed to simulate speech of macaque. Listen to how a monkey asking Will you marry me would sound like?

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https://soundcloud.com/new-scientist/computer-recreation-of-monkey-asking-will-you-marry-me

Well after you have heard this and have had nightmares, scientists found that monkeys possessed the anatomy needed to produce sounds similar to human speech like vowels and could produce full sentences. But one big thing keeps them from verbally announcing a war on us and that is.

The study to see if monkeys can speak

Image Source: www.cloudfront.net

2 Why they cannot speak?

The reason why monkeys cannot speak like humans is hidden in their brains. Co-author of the study, Asif Ghazanfar of Princeton University said “Even if this finding only applies to macaque monkeys, it would still debunk the idea that it’s the anatomy that limits speech in non humans. Now, the interesting question is, what is it in the human brain that makes it special?” it means that the ability to speak lies in the brain of humans, rather than in the anatomy of our bodies. He said that previous attempts to study the speech of monkeys relied on plaster casts of their vocal tract, but now they used x-ray videos and moving images to find out if they can’t speak due to their anatomy. The study confirmed that the vocal tracts of monkeys were speech ready, but something in their cognitive part of the brain kept them from speaking like humans.

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Why they cannot speak

Image Source: www.iflscience.com

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