In theory, the researchers concluded, monkeys can make a fairly wide range of sounds. Looking at the most distinct vocal tract shapes, Dr. Fitch and Dr. Ghazanfar identified five separate vowels among the possibilities."Take your stinking paws off our vocal cords, you dirty humans..."
“What you get are the vowels in ‘bit,’ ‘bet,’ ‘bat,’ ‘but’ and ‘bought,’” Dr. Fitch said.
When the researchers played these sounds to people, they were able to correctly distinguish them most of the time. The scientists could even assemble the sounds into recognizable sentences.
So what prevents these monkeys from gabbing all day long by the watering hole? The two researchers argue that the key to the acquisition of speech lies somewhere in the brain.
“If they had the brain, they could produce intelligible speech,” Dr. Ghazanfar said.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
If apes could talk:
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