Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Computer 'Recreates' Neanderthal Speech

No one's really sure what Neanderthals sounded like, or even if they could speak. But one Florida researcher thinks he can guess.

Robert McCarthy, an assistant professor of anthropology at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., used ancient skeletons to reconstruct an approximation of the Neanderthal vocal tract — and then had a computer recreate the sounds it would make.

"They would have spoken a bit differently," McCarthy tells New Scientist magazine. "They wouldn't have been able to produce these quantal vowels that form the basis of spoken language, and most likely would have spoken in short, abrupt sentences, evocative of a confused preacher reading from a fuzzy teleprompter."

Pictured: Artist conception of Neanderthal speaking.

No comments: