Results from Neanderthal Sequencing … and it’s FOXP2

Well it looks like those people who held our FOXP2 mutation as being recent and uniquely human have been proven wrong again. Evidence from the recent Neanderthal genone sequencing project has demonstrated that the two FOXP2 mutations, that until recently were considered uniquely human, were present in Neanderthals as well. This of course implies that they must also have been present in an earlier common ancestor as well. There is an excellent post on it here at For those of you with institutional access the paper is online here at Current Biology. The implications for this will take some dissection, but it would imply a more complex communicative ability for Neanderthals and a far more interesting evolutionary picture for evolutionary linguists.

*update* A fantastic discussion of the implications and problems with this discovery can be found over at John Hawks. Well worth a read when you get the time.


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