Neanderthal language – the spectrum of science

Whether or not Neanderthals can speak has been studied for more than five decades – and is still being researched because apparently no one can give a definitive answer to the question. It is clear that our human relatives were capable of very complex cultural feats, which one could hardly imagine how they would have been possible without very effective communication with one another. Neanderthals were also not genetically disenfranchised compared to modern humans when it came to the known basic requirements for speech in the genome. On the other hand, some ancient studies questioned whether the anatomy of Neanderthals was at all appropriate for producing speech sounds – for example because the larynx was higher than the anatomy of modern humans. At the very least, it was possible that the older species could produce a wide variety of sounds – but whether it could pass as a powerful language remained a matter of dispute.

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