Neanderthals and Complex Speech

When I was deciding on a subject for my graduate thesis, I thought it would be great fun to write about Neanderthals. Specifically, whether or not they were capable of complex speech. I thought I’d look at the skeletons of some Neanderthals with a focus on the structure of their larynx & pharynx.

Unfortunately, I could not get any of my professors to agree to be my thesis advisors for such a subject (I needed three). Nor, for that matter, did they like any of my other ideas for a thesis.

So, I ended up taking the comprehensive exams.

But I digress . . .

Apparently, the recent 3-D modeling of a Neanderthal hyoid bone (found in 1989) suggests perhaps they did have the capability for it:

While is doesn’t prove anything definitively (does anything in archaeology?), it’s still pretty cool!

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