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Voice box evolution helps humans speak, study reveals!

A new study has revealed how a series of evolutionary changes in the voice box resulted in humans gaining the ability to speak. The scientists discovered that a number of changes occurred over time that distinguishes humans from other primates. The voice boxes of 43 species were examined in the study, and it was discovered that some species lack a vocal membrane. ‘ A small, ribbon-like extension of the vocal cords,’ the membrane is described.

The study also discovered that humans lack the ability to make loud calls like monkeys due to the lack of ‘balloon-like laryngeal structures’ called air sacs. Humans have a stable voice because of the lack of air sacs, which is one of the major reasons they were able to develop speech.

‘We argue that the more complicated vocal structures in nonhuman primates can make it difficult to control vibrations with precision,’ said primatologist Takeshi Nishimura of Kyoto University’s Centre for the Evolutionary Origins of Human Behaviour in a statement.

‘Vocal membranes allow other primates to make louder, higher-pitched calls than humans – but they also make voice breaks and noisy vocal irregularity more common,’ said evolutionary biologist and study co-author W. Tecumseh Fitch of the University of Vienna in Austria in a statement.

According to Science, the study looked at the anatomies of ‘apes such as chimps, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons, as well as Old World monkeys such as macaques, guenons, baboons, and mandrills and New World monkeys such as capuchins, tamarins, marmosets, and titis’.


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