The Vocal Abilities Of The Neanderthal
December 20, 2006 1:30pm CST
Let's discuss: Do you think Neanderthals had vocal abilities?I personally think they had. A Neanderthal hyoid bone (os hyoideum) has been discovered a while ago, this hyoid bone is exactly the same as the one we have. The hyoid bone is essential for languages, it has tonguemuscles attached to it and by moving these muscles and the hyoid bone you can "form" the airflow generated by your lungs with your tongue to make the sounds which make up your language. The question is of course; was the Neanderthal's tongue the same (size) as ours?There is a good reason to think it was almost the same size because Neanderthal physiology is almost the same as ours. They do have more powerful muscles, a smaller stature and a larger brain, but as we see today small people can also speak wink.gif . The larger brain also suggests the capacity to generate speech. Their Hypoglossal canal (canalis hypoglossi) is also the same size. The Hypoglossal canal is the canal through which the nerves to the tongue muscles go. See the photo below for differences between us and the Neanderthal: The major differences between a Neanderthal skull and our own skull is the brow ridge and the shorter jaw. As you see they looked very similar to us. I even think we'd look the same if we had evolved in an icy climate like that of the last Ice age.