Having tried to get back on the wagon and failed, I’m just going to suspend the blog until I can get through the current morass of work I have to do. It’s just producing too many half written entries and too much guilt. See you whenever I get back behind the keyboard and can start writing.
Apologies for the monster gap in posts. It’s been an epic couple of months of lost internet connections, holidays and crazy research work (more on that to come later). Anyway, to kick things off…
No internet thanks to the spectacular incompetence of BT, so blogging has dried up to a trickle as I can only get on at work. Here is the rather excellent Marcus Brigstocke ranting about his similar experience…
Mr Rodgers meets Koko the sign language using gorilla on his TV special about accepting people with differences…
There were just two more plenary speakers at the end of the conference and both delivered fascinating and controversial presentations.
The archaeological positions on language evolution are complicated and frequently bitter. Archaeologists are reluctant to speculate on anything that doesn’t fossilise and the emergence of language is embedded into several, broader debates about how humans emerged. Firstly there is a debate about how late or early modern human behaviour emerged. Secondly a debate about when anatomically modern humans emerged, and finally a debate over the geographical pattern of emergence of modern humans (both behaviourally and biologically).
I’ve had a few emails recently asking about this clip that has been doing the rounds on youtube.
I’m pretty dubious that it represents an elephant truly drawing an abstract image of itself as some sort of therapy. None-the-less it remains fascinating.
Anthropology.net and New Scientist have recently reported on a couple of developments in the Neanderthal language debate.
Firstly, a new paper is in the works that will cast doubt upon the conclusions of the now famous Neanderthal FOXP2 paper from last year. Krause et al found the same adaptive variation of the language-implicated FOXP2 gene as is found in humans in Neanderthal DNA sequences, and claimed that the this was evidence for FOXP2 as a homologous trait that was present in our common ancestor. Cue endless headlines about how this finding is proof that Neanderthals had language.