Neanderthals and Homo sapiens had similar auditory and speech capacities



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Conde Valverde, Mercedes and Martínez, Ignacio and Quam, Rolf and Rosa, Manuel and Velez, Alex D. and Lorenzo Merino, Carlos and Jarabo, Pilar and Bermúdez de Castro, José María and Carbonell i Roura, Eudald and Arsuaga, Juan Luis (2021) Neanderthals and Homo sapiens had similar auditory and speech capacities. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 5 . pp. 609-615. ISSN 2397-334X

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The study of audition in fossil hominins is of great interest given its relationship with intraspecific vocal communication. While the auditory capacities have been studied in early hominins and in the Middle Pleistocene Sima de los Huesos hominins, less is known about the hearing abilities of the Neanderthals. Here, we provide a detailed approach to their auditory capacities. Relying on computerized tomography scans and a comprehensive model from the field of auditory bioengineering, we have established sound power transmission through the outer and middle ear and calculated the occupied bandwidth in Neanderthals. The occupied bandwidth is directly related to the efficiency of the vocal communication system of a species. Our results show that the occupied bandwidth of Neanderthals was greater than the Sima de los Huesos hominins and similar to extant humans, implying that Neanderthals evolved the auditory capacities to support a vocal communication system as efficient as modern human speech.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
Medical sciences > Biology > Biological anthropology
ID Code:69638
Deposited On:18 Jan 2022 15:37
Last Modified:19 Jan 2022 08:53

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