Resounding linkages

Published: Thursday 31 January 2002

Once again it has been proved that monkeys and humans have a lot in common. Researchers have found that gorillas and chimpanzees have a rudimentary speech centre within their brains that until recently was thought to be unique to humans. Brain scans of the apes have revealed a small, lopsided structure buried in the front part of the head, which in humans is critical for language. The structure, Brodmann's area 44, is part of the language centre known as Broca's area. Scans reveal that it is larger and more developed in the left half of the ape's brain than in the right hemisphere -- just as it is in humans. Claudio Cantalupo and William Hopkins, conducted the study at the Yerkes Primate Research Centre at Emory University in Atlanta, USA. The researchers believe their discovery shows that the evolution of language is rooted in a common ape-human ancestor who lived more than five million years ago (, January 1, 2002).

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