Me Caveman, Me Talk
Gene indicates Neanderthals may have had language capabilities like ours
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2007 5:20 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Neanderthals may have spoken much like we do, new research shows. Scientists examined a gene linked to language called FOXP2 in the DNA of cavemen bones discovered in northern Spain, and found that it was identical to ours. The gene is the only one known to be involved in human speech and language, though the lead researcher cautioned that others play a role.

Previously, the modern-human version of the gene was thought to have evolved 200,000 years ago, but Neanderthals are believed to have split off from our ancestors a full 100,000 years before that. Although Neanderthals are known to have been able to make and use tools like early man, it has never been clear whether they had language capabilities.