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Mutant Gene Responsible for Speech?

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the mun-mun-mun-mun-mun-mun-mun-mun dept.

Science 645

An anonymous submitter writes: "A new study published in Nature reports that humans developed speech and language 200,000 years ago as a result of gene mutation. Washington Post story with more background. The mutation in the FOXP2 gene allowed humans greater control over their mouth and throat muscles, and gave them the ability to produce new sounds. It was apparently such an advantageous mutation that it quickly swept through the human population (10,000 - 20,000 years) almost entirely wiping out earlier versions. This development seems to also match up closely with the time period humans began developing culture. Researchers next want to try altering the gene in mice to see what happens, although they suspect there are many other genes involved. So, how long until I can get a talking dog?"

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Beating the Slashdot Effect (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075639)

A. Purpose of this guide.

Firstly, this isn't a joke guide. All the methods described here are working, and with not too much difficulties.

Don't expect that you will be able to lay a girl in one week. Not with this guide anyway. If you have the time, patience, and some manners, you will succeed.

I don't pretend to be a big expert in girls; I'm not. But after some experience with them, I can provide you some information that can help you, with the first moves between he's and her's business.

I will happily update this guide and improve it, with your help, of course. Please send me comments and please help to make it better.

B. The first meets

I believe you have a girlfriend you can experiment with. If you don't, find one. For those purposes, every mid looking girl will suit. Every one can owe a girlfriend, and it's not the time and place to explain how to reach one. (maybe in the next "completed guide of...").

If you don't have a girlfriend yet, at least try to achieve a meet with one.

If you want to continue seeing this girl you have to remember the following:

* Don't make a physical connection on the first dates (don't kiss her goodbye and don't hug her )

* Let her talk. If she has a lot to say - just listen. A node with the head and some leading questions will do.

* If she is permanently silent you can always ask her about:
- herself (hobbies ext.)
- school (although it seems to be boring, you can talk hours on this subject)
- her musical prefers (If she mentions an artist that you dislike, don't show it to her. Just hide it.
- tell her about yourself.
- ask her if she knows x & y from her school.
- and the most important: don't answer with yes or no. those above are chat-stoppers. Expand you speech.
- tell her jokes
- remember to have a lot of humour - they like it.
- very important : don't be serious.
- Mind your manners: don't talk rudely nor curse.
- smile : release the tense.

If all the above fail, and you can't find common language with her, you Probably won't keep with her long time.

* Where to go at the first time:

- movie (let her choose, but don't insist on doing so) You can talk about the movie latter. Pay for you both. (as it's obvious). If she's ok, she will insist on paying on herself.
- go for a walk
- meet at one of your homes. (It's better on her home - she'll feel more relaxed and free)
- party : if available
- School - only if you learn in the same school

* If you enjoyed her company, tell her so. Tell her that you enjoyed, and you want to see her again. Before the end of the meet, fix yourselves a new date (fix it on the same evening)exchange telephones, ofcourse.

* Flatter her, but know your limits. Flatter to her nice sides. (Every one has some). Tell her how nice she is. Flatter to her looks (If you at least find her attractive). Don't say to her "You are the most beautiful girl I ever so"- It sounds non-natural.(She's Probably not.)

* If she plays (love-games) a little - please understand. we'll close the bills later...

* Don't bother her with too much telephone calls. Be cool at the first meets, or she'll take advantage over you. Show her you interested, but not desperate.

How will you know if you are friends or not? here are some ways:

- Hear what her girlfriend thinks about your connection.(For instance: If she meets her girlfriend in the street, and the above askes if she is your girlfriend - hear what she says (it's an embarrassing moment - from experience...)
- Enter phrases that assume that she is you girlfriend in your talkes to her. (not infront of her and your friends) See how she react to those statements.

The first physical connection. There are two ways establishing it:

* The spontaneous way: Kiss her goodbye (not in the first date - she'll appreciate it if you'll have patience.) In the following date take you hands together. It's very romantic. Dance with her in one of your homes. Dance is a kind of hug, and it the middle of this slow song - kiss here. (she might be shy in public, so understand her, and do this critical steps in public garden or other quiet place.)

* The non-spontaneous way: Lead her to non-public and quiet place (i.e. garden) look in her eyes and silent for a moment or so. She, understanding the moment, will silent too. Approach her head with yours, and gently kiss her a few times on her mouth. Hug her. (BTW, this the recommended way).

By this time, if she is with you, you'll understand that she likes your company. If she didn't, you won't reach that stage. If she likes you (or love you - in the better case), she would more then hugs and kisses -- but don't hurry. You should have patience. You should reach the bed only by small steps.

C. Phase I - "I like you"

You (both) will start to say compliments to each other. Don't say you love her if you don't feel anything to her. Choose the right moment of doing so.

Imagine the situation: You tell her "I Love you.". She, likes you very much, but the way to love is still long. She will be in shocking situation. If she'll say "I love you too" and she doens't mean it - you will both leave in lie. If she'll be silent, you will Probably have bad feelings -- "She doesn't love me at all.."

You can say to her "I like you/your looks/your style." This isn't strong as "love". Love is very strong word. Don't use it when not needed.

Some guys say to their girls that they love them - They think she will jump to the bed right a way. Although she will try to show you her greetings, don't expect to much. She's just a girl, and if she is between younger then 16. she's Probably virgin.

Bring her flowers & presents some time - it will mean very much to her. If you like to write, write her love letters. Bring her audio cassette with love songs - she'll remember you and connect you to them.

D. Phase II The body language

You are now on the kings way.

You should talk about sex by this time. Ask her what she thinks about it. (Don't involve doing sex with YOU). Ask her about sex generally. Ask her what is the appropriate age for doing it.

Start investigating her body - only in one of your homes. After you kiss her you should get to a situation where you are laying one infront of another (on the bed)

Let your hand travel over her body Don't touch between her legs - do the things in the order below.

Sneak you hand under her skirt and pat her back. If she wears a bra put you hand under the stripe (the one above her back - but don't open it - let your hand travel under the bra surface and forward to her tits. Don't touch hard there - it hurts. If she resists get you hand out of there quickly. We will continue later with this. Give her 10 minutes of rest from the last event. Talk about something else. (Remember - Don't ask her why she resists. Just ignore.)

Another area you should quest is her ass. Pat it gently - Stack you hand gently under her trousers and move your hand more deeply every time. She'll Probably resist or do sounds of disagreement. Remember - Even if she says she's not - She like your touches there. By this time you should be friends for 1-2 months or so - you know each other enough for those games.

After few meets doing the above, you can try removing her bra. The fastest you do it-the better she won't say anything. Don't ask her too remove it by herself - You're on you own now. after you opened it, don't ask her to totally remove it (not at the first time, at least).

Now it's a very important moment. Remember to close the lights, and get blanket from somewhere. Move you hand down to the area of her cunt. (all with clothes, of course). Pat her near it - but don't touch it directly. She'll bag in her mind from you to do it. After a few minutes of doing so, (Don't forget to kiss her all the times...she's not a sex machine)

Move your hand directly to there. You might feel some bones there (and by this time you are wondering where the hall is)

Don't ask her if it's good to her. It is. Your touch there is just like an electrical shock - it's very pleasuring.

If she's OK, she will do the same to you, so you will both feel perfect understand of each other. She might resist to your touch, but -believe me- if you'll stop toucing there for a meet or so, she will curse herself. The next time you'll try - you won't hear a hiss. her trousers. If she'll resist ask her what she afraids from. What can possibly happen? Start patting her cunt harder and with circulating movements. (she is still with her underwear -- don't remove it!)Have patience and control yourself. If she'll like what you are doing there, and she's OK, she will do the same to you. Don't hide your erect penis. You can't. But she'll will be amazed from the quick reaction...

Now your hand is there - circulating over her underwear. The best way of directly touching it is to "accidently" insert a finger under her underwear. (Do it from her legs side) She want resist...don't insert a finger in the hole - It can hurt even if she isn't virgin. Remove you fingers from there and insert full hand from her stomach side. Lay your forehand on her hair, and let the fingers play a little down there. Try to locate her clitoris - this is the mega power station of emotions... (Open the little lips of her cunt and travel up until they meet (the lips) there should be there an small organ (About 2-3 cm) - remember:Don't touch there to long - it is the most enjoying organ there, but it's not the only.

Don't forget to kiss her all the times. You can lick her tits nipples (not all the girls will let you doing so in that stage)Kiss her under her neck and lick her hear.

Continue touching her there. The lights are off, but try to look if her eyes are closed. If they are - she's enjoying. If not, continue patting her there - her eyes will be closed immediately.

Try to concentrate on her (girls like attention) but if she wants to pleasure you let her doing so. Remember - don't expect to much from her. You are the leader in the bed.

Try to give her an orgasm. A few minutes of direct squeezes at her clitoris will do. If it doesn't - ask her what will make her good there. Let her instruct you, but don't insist on it. If she has a serial of convulsions - she reached it (with your help of course). After that she will feel free to do it to you...

After the next meet she will take a talk with you. She'll say that she don't like what you've reached ("..I think we are getting to much close to it..."). Ask her "What do you afraid of?? You had fun didn't you? Look. I don't rowing anywhere. I don't know if I want to it yet (I mean full sex)". She'll be convinced. She won't start with it when you are doing so- she have to much pleasure...

You are both naked now, beside of your underwear (I hope). Now - lay on her. Curse the existence of your lower underwear - Loudly. Lay her on her back. Massage her for 10 minutes. Kiss her back. Now - Remove her underwear completely - she'll fill safe because she is on her stomach. (No danger of actual intercourse). Remove your pants. Lay on her (She still upside down -remember?) She will Probably feel great and hot. Rub your penis against her ass chicks. Say to her "would you like me to take some safety percations?". She'll say "What do you mean?" answer her: "I almost finished...". Pull a condom from somewhere (I bet it waited a long time...)and put it. Lay again over her and make some moves. Now - Rotate her so she'll lay on her back again. Lay over her. Fiddle with her cunt a little and try to insert your penis. If she'll say "don't insert" - say "ok", wait and retry.

If it doesn't enter, open her lips with your two hands and try again. If she is virgin, it will Probably hurt her a little so please be patient and if you are powerful, wait for the next meet. (In the next meet throw your parents of your house for the day). If it still hurts her, try to expend her virgin membrane with your fingers. (There IS a hole there - even if she is totally virgin. All you have to do is expend it a little).

What if it doesn't work - There are few possibilities:
- You tried to move too forward with not too much time.
- She's totally cold (Frigid). Find someone else.
- She isn't ready yet. Convince her. "What do you have to loose?" remember that you must make yourself credit from hers side
- She is afraid of pregnancy : Wait, or convince her that you will take a reliable anti-pregnancy device. (Tell her that you'll take condoms; If she's virgin, this is the only possibility).

If she is totally afraid, but want to try sexual intercourse, convince her to take anti-pregnancy pills. It is vey hard for anyone to admit befor a strange person that you're making sexual intercoures; try to understand. BTW, the doctors usually don't "insert hands" today. (They just test blood pressure and heart beat rate)

She will give you examples of girls that she READ about that used anti-pregnancy devices that failed; tell her "Did you hear about all the intercourses which didn't end with pregnancy ?" and "Why are you so negative about it? it's positive thing!"

- If all above fails and she still don't want it, wait. or....merry her...

All the procedure described here (From totally start) Should Take about 3 months. If you're thinking that you are moving to quick, slow the rate.

Re:Beating the Slashdot Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075813)

It's trolls like this that make me proud to be a slashdot reader.

Keep on trollin'!

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075640)

first post

i want (1)

NateSac (579551) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075641)

Wow, I want a talking dog too!

Re:i want (2)

EvlPenguin (168738) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075658)

I'd be happy with just Family Guy back on the air.

Re:i want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075675)

Imagine what an average dog thinks.

Could be worse though it might be a talking cat.

Re:i want (1, Funny)

BobMcGrae (469093) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075713)

I can just imagine it;

Me: "Fetch"
Dog: "What did your last slave die off"

Me: "Roll Over"
Dog: "Hey, I'm not into that kind of thing"

Re:i want (1)

morgajel (568462) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075732)

that explains scooby.

Sensational... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075642)

Now those "Would you eat me if I talked?" Greenpeace ads will actually be reality. Goodbye Big Mac :( -

The silence of the lambs (1)

whimdot (591032) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075724)

I'm not big into Macs, but those young sheep would have to hold pretty good conversation before it put me off eating them.

Re:The silence of the lambs (1)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075803)

Nooo, Lisa, noooo, don't eat me.

Re:The silence of the lambs (1)

PjotrP (593817) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075805)

"Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he'd cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?" "Well, we'd have to be talkin' about one charming mother fucking pig. I mean, he'd have to be ten times more charming than that Arnold on Green Acres."

Re:Sensational... (4, Funny)

Webmonger (24302) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075766)

Sounds like they never read The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Slaughter... (1)

BeyondALL (248414) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075643)

Of cource people who could speak had an advance over people who did not.. so they Slaughtered them down..

an we lived happily ever after :)

Re:Slaughter... (2, Funny)

whimdot (591032) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075734)

The next wave of genes to sweep across the globe will be from those people who don't mind arguing with their food before they eat it.

last post (0)

jpsst34 (582349) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075645)


"Oh Great!... (5, Funny)

bucklesl (73547) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075646)

...A talking dog..." - Gecko

the first sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075647)

These new genes taught us the sounds 'ah', 'tee', 'see' and 'gee'.

Next they find the gene for understanding math (1)

Neuronerd (594981) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075649)

The worrying thing is that geneticists seem to believe that genes define what we are. They search for genes for intelligence - and for preference for red whine.

My bet is that they will soon realize that speech underlying human culture is due to networks of thousands of genes and also due to advances in human culture and technology.

There can not possibly be a gene making a human out of a monkey.

RE: Next they find the gene for understanding math (-1)

roadkill999 (594008) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075661)

Hopefully one day they will find the gene responsible
for poor spelling and terrible grammar. Thats one
type of gene therapy you should be first in line for.

Re:Next they find the gene for understanding math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075689)

I guess if I was luddite scum I'd want to believe the same as you do.

Re:Next they find the gene for understanding math (2, Informative)

character sequence (601293) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075723)

I've been reading (slowly) the book "The Symbolic Species" by Terrence W. Deacon [] , which covers the evolution of language in humans. It goes into the selective pressures that could have worked in favour of language development. Without these, any single mutation would not have gone very far towards our current language abilities. You can check out a summary of the book here [] .

Slashdot gene found! (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075740)

The geneticists U. N. Known and I. Maginary of the University of Nowhere have found a new gene, which appeared through a mutation in the 20th century, probably somewhere in USA.

As the scientists tell us, the gene has the following effects:

- affinity to penguins and gnus
- aversion against windows
- signs of paranoia
- a strong demand for news
- the impulse to comment everything

The gene is called "Slashdot gene", because carriers of that gene tend to gather on Slashdot. According to Maginary, it must be a very successful gene, given that it was able to spread that wide in such a short time frame.

There are rumors that Microsoft has hired geneticists to find a way of disabling that gene.

Re:Next they find the gene for understanding math (4, Insightful)

tjamme (601294) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075797)

>Next they find the gene for understanding math
Well they might.

If your assumption were true, it would be possible, with enough patience and care, to teach a chimp to talk and be just like us, so the chimp could go to school, get a job, and say, run slashdot. This is clearly not the case despite more and more findings that chimps have really advanced mental capabilities.

Of course we could not have gone from mischevious banana eaters to programmers just like that. Chimps have nearly all the abilities. But they are lacking some crucial genes. Even if those only are regulatory genes.
And those genes are to be found, logically, within the fraction of a 100th percent that separates us from them.

However the recently discovered genes don't account for speech. You can use sign language!
Being able to produce sounds is not enough, otherwise parrots, as clever as they may be, could also go to school and get a job.
So the gene(s) that have just been found are not the whole story. Plenty of genes are sure required for speech, including chimp legacy ones.

As far as culture is concerned, it's the other way round. You can't retain culture if you haven't got the intellectual mechanisms to understand / store / re-phrase. So we have culture because we have speech. No the other way round.


PS. Sign me up for a talking dog too.

Um... I havn't taken a biology class lately (3, Insightful)

Kaeru the Frog (152611) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075650)

...isn't evolution based on genes mutating? Why is this such a surprise?

Re:Um... I havn't taken a biology class lately (1)

Dr.Potato (247646) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075720)

Actually its not that this is a new principle in evolution, but that many people thought that language developed not necessarily by mutation. But to training of specific areas already developed in the brain. These news relates development in language due to a mutation in a gene.

And instead of having talking dogs, what about talking dolphins? :-)

Re:Um... I havn't taken a biology class lately (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075764)

And instead of having talking dogs, what about talking dolphins?
Or talking parrots... oh wait, we already have them! :-)

Re:Um... I havn't taken a biology class lately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075789)

Feh. Dolphins already talk. Robert Anton Wilson and Douglas Adams have known that for years.

Re:Um... I havn't taken a biology class lately (3, Informative)

plaa (29967) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075721)

...isn't evolution based on genes mutating? Why is this such a surprise?

Not necessarily. Most evolution happens by survival of the strongest (or fittest). The best individuals survive and pass on their genes.

Gene mutations are random events. They add something new, something unexpected to the gene pool. Most of the time, the mutation is harmful, the individual dies, and the mutation is not handed on to the next generation. But sometimes, something good will result, making the gene pool stronger.

Humans might have developed their speech skills just by slow development (the ape that grunts loudest gets to pick its mate or something). This study suggests that there was a great leap in evolution, due to the mutation, and that relatively few genes control a major part of the throat muscles.

Re:Um... I havn't taken a biology class lately (1)

robbway (200983) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075791)

Most evolution happens by survival, period. If I have a genetic mutation that makes me immune to the effects of virus X or bacteria Y, but also makes me a physical weakling, I'm not the fittest nor the strongest. Yet an outbreak of virus X or bacteria Y wipes the stongest and fittest off the face of the earth. Yes, the survivors were stronger against the single factor, but overall, evolution caused survival of the weakest.

It's a dangerous thing to give evolution a consciousness, and not at all what Darwin had in mind.

Re:Um... I havn't taken a biology class lately (2)

psxndc (105904) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075814)

"Survival of the fittest" is generally accepted in Biology to mean "fittest to reproduce". I may be only able to lift 50 pounds, but if I can produce 10 offspring instead of the muscle guy that can only produce one, I am genetically more fit. People tend to equate that since I can only lift 50 pounds, I'll be killed off sooner, but i is more about one's ability to procreate. Of course this assuming that I make it to the age of sexual maturation. Unlikely if I am a weaking.


Re:Um... I havn't taken a biology class lately (1)

cyborch (524661) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075725)

You beat me to it. This is like studies proving that looking away from the road while driving is a bad thing (I think that was from a 60 minutes show some time ago). The scary part is that somebody is is actually funding these studies!

Why do people insist on being so incredibly stupid that they need scientific studies to proove the obvious?

Aside from that, knowing which gene enables us to speak will allow for some fun with genetic engineering...

Which brings on the next question: why would I want my pet to be able to speak? Given that it is a cat with a cat's somewhat limited intelligence what could a cat possibly say to me? "I'm hungry" in stead of "meeow"? Why would I want this?

Re:Um... I havn't taken a biology class lately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075755)

It's such a surprise because only 2 amino acids (if those are the 2 molecules they are referring to) are perhaps responsible for PRECIPATING the changes that led to speech production. 2 out of 715 in ONE gene is VERY small for such a large effect.

Heroes in a half-shell (1)

The Original Yama (454111) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075651)

Now all we have to do is mutate into bipedal turtles with ninjutsu skills and we'll be complete.

Re:Heroes in a half-shell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075822)

Hehe... j00 541d pr0n

Ironically... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075656)

[blockquote]The mutation in the FOXP2 gene allowed humans greater control over their mouth and throat muscles, and gave them the ability to produce new sounds.[/blockquote] The scientists added that the spread of this mutation would have been much quicker had oral sex not been discovered in tandem.

No, wolverine! Snitch snitch snoochy snooch (0)

jpsst34 (582349) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075657)

So does this mean we are all mutants? If I am the offspring of a quickly spreading mutation, then I am definately going to stop putting off that operation whereby I'd be fitted with a shiny new titanium skeleton.

Laurie Anderson said... (4, Funny)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075659)

that "Language is a virus"

Reckon we'll have to rewrite the science books. The BIG science books.

Re:Laurie Anderson said... (1)

vbweenie (587927) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075714)

William S. Burroughs said it first: "Word is a virus". See Nova Express for details.

Re:Laurie Anderson said... (4, Funny)

cyborch (524661) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075735)

Word is a virus

[insert obligatory MS bashing here]

Re:Laurie Anderson said... (2)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075752)

Prohaps Languange is a retro virus []

Talking dog (2)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075669)


My Cat Talks (1)

rapidweather (567364) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075778)

Of Course everything he says is a variation of "meow", but I know what he means. All this increases when I go near the refrigerator (where the bottle of milk is).

Not mice ! Please not mice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075670)

Stewart Little becomes a reality. Nooooooo!

The ability alone does not create ability. (1)

Qender (318699) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075671)

Several other animals are capable of human sounds, or equally expressive actions. But neither birds or fish are known to communicate on the level that humans do.

Talking Dog (3, Informative)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075672)


So, how long until I can get a talking dog?

Ooh, maybe 10,000 - 20,000 years?

Well, maybe not that long, but still... quite a while.


The obvious first (5, Funny)

jaymzter (452402) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075673)

1. What the hell does Mickey Mouse have to do with this?

2. Didn't they already accomplish this with Stuart Little? Which gene allowed him to drive?

3. I thought I already saw this on Pinky and the Brain.
"What are we going to do tonight, Brain?"
"The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Have our genes altered so we can get a follow up story in Slashdot!"

According to Discovery Channle (3, Informative)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075676)

They had a show on there about human evolution abouta month ago. The chick said that the reason humans can speak is because we can swim. Being ablt to hold our breath and control our breathing in gerneal allows us to controll the air over the vocal chords. She seems to believe that way back when we were semi-aquatic monkeys or something. Can't say I totaly disagree

Re:According to Discovery Channle (1)

k-0s (237787) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075698)

Ummm can't ALOT of animals swim but can't speak? Like the entire fish family, amphibian and several reptile and mammal species?

Re:According to Discovery Channle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075767)

Fish "breathe" water - they're not "holding their breath" when swimming!. Frogs usually have a large and varied vocabulary - they don't just go "croak" or "ribbit" or "qwak" or whatever. Crocs and turtles have a wierd array of grunts, chirps and squeaks. Elephants too. Dolphins and Whales? Ever hear them?

Humans are SO obviously semi-aquatic apes, specialised non-specialists cut out for shoreline living.

  • Our nakedness. What other mammals are similarly hairless? That's right, the semi-aquatic ones
  • Our unusual stance. What other mammals habitually walk like us? Wading primates in mangrove swamps
  • Out water-inefficiency. Totally at-odds with the "savannah" theory, our bodies really don't worry about water conservation - suggesting a (fresh/low-salinity) watery environmental preferenc
  • What was the rift valley right about when humanoid fossils start turning up. It was not savannah like it is now, it was wetlands.
  • Where do humans STILL choose to live - by the water
  • Where do humans STILL preferentiallyt go on holidays (and there indulge in mating rituals) - by the water.
  • What other mammals control their breath and use large vocubalaries: Dolphins, whales, elephants, humans
  • Why does the human population have short-sightedness? Surely it would be a major no-no? Actually no: short-sighted humans see better underwater (without goggles)

We didn't just once go through a semi-aquatic evolutionary stage. WE'RE STILL AT IT!

Re:According to Discovery Channle (aquatic apes) (1)

gothmogged (161673) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075757)

The "aquatic ape" theory is not well supported by evidence and has few adherents. Most mammals can hold their breath and swim.

Cecil has a good summary: ht ml

Re:According to Discovery Channle (aquatic apes) (2)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075818)

...and many do it better. Where are my muscles to close my nostrils/ears?

Researchers next want to try altering the gene in (2)

Mike Connell (81274) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075677)

Behold, the time has come for Dr Rat to lead the revolution.

(Dr Rat is a novel by William Kotzwinkle about a talking rat in a research lab. Well worth reading)

Evolution (1)

The Real Chrisjc (576622) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075680)

Does this now prove that evolution exsists? Last I heard, theres no solid proof. It could be very interesting for animals to communicate more. I don't think you'll get a talking dog out of it! Atleast, not for a good thousand years or so, if it happens quickly.

Re:Evolution (2)

cat_jesus (525334) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075736)

No, Evolution was observed long before this.

Does this mean ... (2)

Bake (2609) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075681)

We're ALL X-Men?

Penguin (2, Funny)

mrselfdestrukt (149193) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075702)

Wow, can't believe nobosy said they wanted a talking Penguin. Just image a talking parrot! Oh, wait...

Re:Does this mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075712)

I met an x-man once. She seemed nice, but... I thought something was strange, and then I felt what was wrong with him. :-)

Talking dog (1)

seen2much (576446) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075687)

"So, how long until I can get a talking dog?" Oh dear God, soon Scooby Doo clones will be sold in the petshops. Right next to the Dogberts and Huckleberry Hounds.

Isn't that evolution? (3, Insightful)

YellowSubRoutine (230089) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075690)

Isn't that exactly evolution at work?
Aren't we all what we are because of a series of accidental gene mutations?

XP2 gene (2, Funny)

GibsonSundman (599726) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075691)

The mutation in the XP2 gene allowed humans greater control over their mouth and throat muscles, and gave them the ability to produce new sounds.

..After they signed the EULA

Parrots? (5, Insightful)

Quixote (154172) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075692)

Parrots can make most of the sounds that humans can make ( and then some [] ). Does that mean parrots can "speak" like humans, or develop a culture? I don't think the ability to make sounds has anything to do with culture.

Re:Parrots? (2)

shd99004 (317968) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075727)

Maybe it's forming a culture that needs speech, rather than the other way around?

True, but (2)

Goonie (8651) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075730)

But it's hard to see how a complex culture could develop without speech.

However, some recent research has claimed that some of the great apes posess the rudiments of culture, in that genetically homogenous groups that are from different regions perform the same task (for instance gathering a particular type of food) in different ways. Another (artificial) example of a rudimentary "culture" was some monkeys (forget where) that were tempted into the water by food thrown into it, and subsequently learned to swim. In addition, they also grew to like the taste of the added salt from the water on their food, and started to take the food they gathered themselves and dip it in the salty water to flavour it - something not seen previously. They have continued to do so long after the original stimulus disappeared.

Now, I'm not claiming that this is anything remotely approaching the complexity of human cultures, but it is interesting nonetheless.

Re:Parrots? (2)

aztektum (170569) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075739)

It's also more difficult for parrots to build tools (although not so tough for crows! :), cars, houses, dishware, sew, and program computers; they can replicate our sounds but do they understand our language?

Humans had a decided advantage b/c of more obvious phsysiology (hands) as well, speech just made it easier to say "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US!"

And who's to say they don't have a culture that's all their own, too.

But I don't blame anyone for anything.

Re:Parrots? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075745)

This is by far the lamest post I have ever seen. Many animals in fact do have customs and cultures. They may not be as elaborate as the fake business-suit song and dance you are used to but by your logic a tribesman in Africa is not human because their culture is not like your own?


Re:Parrots? (2)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075758)

Does that mean parrots can "speak" like humans, or develop a culture?

I have to agree with this. Culture and "language" were a development of the brain, not speech. After all, sign language provide more than adequate language skills to create and develop culture.

An interesting note of trivia has to do with the indigenous population of the Canary Islands. They lived on the string of islands, but never built boats and thus never actually met. They communicated between islands using whistles. In fact, their entire language was built on whistles. They are the only group of humans known to have a language built on whistles.

Unfortunately, upon colonization of the Canaries, the Spanish all but wiped them out. Supposedly there are still a few descendants of these indigenous people who still whistle the native tongue.

Re:Parrots? (2)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075775)

I don't think the ability to make sounds has anything to do with culture.

Sound (or some other means of communicaton.. I think of Octopi and thier colour changes here) is necessary but not suficient for culture, and has co-evoilved with the rest of the extraordinary human brain.

If you have a few days to kill, don't mind complexity and are really interested, go read 'The Symbolic Species' by Terrence deacon for more details.

Re:Parrots? (2)

dattaway (3088) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075784)

No, this [] is what we are worried about. When your typewriters end up missing, you know something is wrong.

Yes, Actually (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075808)

At least, according to this [] story. Talks about a crow that can use tools and (briefly) at the bottom about an african grey parrot that had a 100+ word vocabulary and was able to ask questions and make requests (I assume greater than "Polly wanna cracker.") There was also some discussion about replacing the actor who plays "Wil Riker" with an african grey as the bird would be able to deliver its lines with more conviction...

Perhaps in a few dozen millenia the giant mutant african greys will run the planet...

Wrong assumptions and wrong gene (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075693)

I believe this article makes some wrong assumptions, such as that speech leads to language. In fact, we find that children born without the ability to speak and/or hear, when exposed to sign language, develop language skills in parellel and in the same stages and manner as people who speak. Language is clearly a skill seperate from speech.

Planet of the Apes? (1)

crosbie (446285) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075694)

Truth stranger than fiction?

Shouldn't be too tricky to apply this to a chimpanzee and before you know it! Charlton Heston to the rescue...

Yeah. Right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075701)

Similar research has isolated "Multi-variable Calculus" and "Printing Press" genes.

Such perfect timing.... (5, Funny)

shoemakc (448730) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075704)

...when speech is about to be ruled a DRM circumvention device under the DCMA.

I mean....uh.....::grunt::::grunt:::

Re:Such perfect timing.... (2, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075756)

imagine a beowolf of genes? whoa..

geez, does there have to be the pseudo-requisit-stupid-boilerplate-take-down-the-g overnment-that-we-elected-anyways-doh-we-should-fe el-stupid post?


2001 will have to be remade. (1)

Kredal (566494) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075705)

Instead of the ancient ancestors hopping up and down looking at the slab, the slab will actually talk to them. "Go over there and pick up that bone. Very good. Now club that guy (you know, the one who called you a baboon) over the head with it. Very good. You see? Tools are useful."

And the monkey will respond, "Gee, wally, this is great! What else can I do with tools? I know, I'll make something round and call it a wheel! Won't this be fun!"

I get it now (2)

papasui (567265) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075709)

The mutation in the FOXP2 gene allowed humans greater control over their mouth and throat muscles..

Mutation must be how porn stars can take down a 12 inch Kielbasa on Howard Stern. Do you think those researches doing the mice gene implant can take a porn star throat gene and place it in my wifes throat? :)

You don't really have a wife, do you? N/T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075762)


Re:You don't really have a wife, do you? N/T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075802)

The big question is, does he have a 12"? ;P

Re:I get it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075812)

Do you think those researches doing the mice gene implant can take a porn star throat gene and place it in my wifes throat? :)

You're posting to Slashdot, so odds are, she doesn't need it.

No, that's not how it happened... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075711)

Actually, God invented man...speech and all. Mutant that's funny.

Re:No, that's not how it happened... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075786)

Amen to that... it annoys me as well that there are people with the audacity to do "scientific" research on our heritage, while all they have to do is just ask their priest/rabbi/etc and they get all the answers they could possibly need.. what's with these infidels??

As a side note, I am still quite displeased with air planes. If man were made to fly, wouldn't God have given us wings???

gene therapy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075717) if they could only get rid of the gene responsible for the voices in my head... /foo

Pinky and the Brain... (2)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075719)

I knew it wasn't a cartoon, its actually the lab report after the genetic modification to enable them to speak.

Of course if you tried the same on Rabbits they'd only ever say one thing..... "grass".

surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075722)

Well... the whole evolution is based on mutations. The mutations that are helpfull survive.
I hope this wasn't a surprise.

Interesting (1)

Kobal (597997) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075726)

Anything that can help to understand how the forkhead genes work is worth exploring. FYI, they are genes coding for proteines that are supposed to regulate the expression of other genes during embryogenesis, so the value of studyning this mutation isn't only about language, imho.
And to give into the silliness of the first comments, a chimp with the ability to produce more sounds may be able to show rudimentary speech and would be a great test subject for animal "intelligence". And one day, maybe , we'll have those fabled eight-legged chicken...

Can you hear me now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075737)


Oh no! (3, Funny)

yeoua (86835) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075743)

They had better not give this to an ape! Or he'll start talking and become super intelligent and start rallying the Earth's apes under his super power and then take over human kind only to establish a new ape government onto of a nuclear wasted planet so that some astronaut sent up and forgotten can wake up on this new Earth and find the broken statue and fall to his knees a scream...

Re:Oh no! (2)

forgoil (104808) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075820)

We better destroy all records of those movies quickly then!!!

And even if the primates doesn't gain control, I am still winning, because I don't like the movies;)

ReBorn does not exist anymore! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075746)

REBORN, Linux audio software is dead :( From ReBorn's website: It was fun while it lasted... I have today been instructed by Propellerhead Software to remove ReBorn from my Website. The ReBorn user interface falls foul of the copyright inherent in the ReBirth product and is consequently an infringement of Propellerhead Software's rights. Unfortunatley, this situation means I have had to reverse my position on releasing the ReBorn source code, which will now not be made publicly available. However, the effort in developing ReBorn will not go entirely to waste. I already have plans to integrate the core audio code into a new soft-synth application, with an all-new interface and 100% incompatibilty with all Propellerhead's products :-) Thankyou to all those people who contacted me to say nice things about ReBorn. I ask all of you to respect Propellerhead Software's wishes (as I have) and not to distribute the program on other websites. David J. Singer

Re:ReBorn does not exist anymore! (0, Troll)

DrunkenPenguin (553473) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075790)

Yeah, that was important *NEWS*. Instead of posting news about *IMPORTANT* things, Slashdot editors choose to publish nonsense, non IT related shit! What a fucking lame website this has become! No wonder why hackers are leaving this sinking ship. Adios motherfuckers (Slashdot editors)!

screw the talking dog (1)

AnotherBrian (319405) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075760)

"So, how long until I can get a talking dog?"

I don't want a talking dog, how about something cuter like a talking bird?

It woud NOT be desirable??? (0)

H-1B_visas_suck (573220) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075768)

From the article in question: "Researchers are likely to try to introduce the genetic mutations into mice as part of their work, but they said many other genetic changes would likely be necessary to produce a talking animal, and several said they doubted anything of the sort would ever be possible, let alone desirable."

Why would it NOT be desireable? Friggin' moronic sheeple.....

What about the parrots and other talking birds? (1)

dmouritsendk (321667) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075772)

"emerges historically - it's a sociological product, not genetic".

I agree, try to teach a flock of Grey Jacko's (a great talking parrot), to say two or three worlds. 10-1 their offspring would be easier to teach the same words.

Not for certain yet (5, Informative)

MiTEG (234467) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075787)

This gene:

may have played a central role in the development of modern humans' ability to speak
could have given them a critical advantage
may at least partly explain why humans can speak and animals cannot

The /. headline is misleading. It is suspected that this mutation in the FOXP2 gene is responsible for language development and not necessarily speech. Some birds can "speak" but they do not have language abilities.

The confusing part to me is the fact that gorillas obviously have language ability, as seen in Koko [] , a gorilla that is able sign. So the mutation in this gene does not determine whether a species has the capacity for language or not, perhaps it only determines the proficiency in language.

The Vorlons did it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4075796)

Next thing you know we'll be dealing with telepaths. We will need a facility to manage this new menace and keep these mutant freaks off our streets! :)

Mutant Gene Responsible for Speech? (1)

Pez69 (244209) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075806)

I knew there was something strange with this speices, we are just a bunch of mutant freaks

Genes do not sweep (2, Insightful)

johnbr (559529) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075817)

I'm sorry, but mutations don't "sweep" through anything (and I seriously doubt that it took only 10k-20k years to do a total population replacement).

Genetic varation occurs because one group outcompetes another group for food or geography, or because two groups interbreed. It is possible, although unlikely given the way we primates reject strangeness, that the gene was interbred. It is much more likely that a long, _sloooooooooooooooow_ process of population replacement was responsible.

My bet is that in a few years, they'll recant the 10-20k year "sweep", and acknowledge that it was more like 50-100k years to swap out everyone on Earth.

How it spread so quickly (1, Funny)

hugesmile (587771) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075819)

The reason that the mutation spread so quickly is that it allowed guys to say "Can I buy you a drink?"

Talking Dog (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#4075825)

According to a recent CNN story I was reading, dogs can do math. They mumbled something about a stack of treats and concealing them to either add, remove or leave the same the number of treats, and how the dog looked at the stack longer when treats were added or removed...

A little genetic engineering and Lassie will not only be able to save Timmy from the well, she'll also be able to help him with his calculus homework and do the farm's taxes.

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