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A Biological Question No.2. Do you know other theory about the origin of human language?

I have read a book "Evolution. The Basics" written by Sherrie Lyons recently. I myself is an amature phsycist.

It was my joy to have been able to obtain a new knowledge from that book.

When I was a young student about 30 years ago, I asked myself how the human language evolved?

The book introduced me a current theory about that.

The ultimate origin of language is glooming which behavior can be observed in a group of monkeys today, according to the book.

The glooming behavior is a confirmation and continuation of affirmative social relationships between two individuals within the group.

It is a direct physical contact without malicious intention but with pure affection.

We received such a pure affection from our mother when we were baby.

The glooming behavior was needed between many individuals to keep the society of a group rigid in the primates evolutionary history.

As the group size became large, the monkeys had to invent other ways to gloom many other individuals simultaneously.

It is the voice, that is, "glooming many others simultaneously at distance", according to the theory.

Yes, it seems very probable theory for the origin of language of humankind.

But how about the origin of the symbolic dance language of bees?

About symbolic language of Apis Mellifera carnica, read "Life Cycle" written by John Tylor and if you would like to know the whole thing, read "The Dance Language of and Orientation of Bees" written by Karl von Frisch.

Hey, Chemists Sirs, have your ken wide!

Is the similarlity between  the languages of human and bees a result of convergent evolution?

How do you speculate?


April 17, 2012

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Re: A Biological Question No.2. Do you know other theory about the origin of human language?

I am not sure the terms "language" and "communication" are necessarily the same.  Language seems restricted to a verbal form of communication, but as the book you mention points out in the monkey example, there is an entire set of physical communication signals including touch, but also including our reaction to scents and the sight of physical postures that we are receptive to as a species.  It is due to these non-verbal forms of communication that we are capable of spotting lies that a person speaks.  And there is probably a series of sympathetic chemical reactions that occur within us that also serve as added information.

Bees have a form of physical communication as well, done partially through the dance motions.  When you say "convergent evolution" it sounds like you are assuming that our distant common ancestor with bees had no form of physical communication.  It seems unlikely that their more advanced signals (compared to worms, for example) are in any was predecessors of our own.  On the other hand, it seems unlikely that humans and bees (and Humbolt's Squid, for that matter) developed physical communication without some common ancestor having a primordial version of communication.  It is normal for a primordial chemical system to develop into several different complex systems in living organisms.  I suspect communication development in a species follows this pattern, too.

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Re: A Biological Question No.2. Do you know other theory about the origin of human language?

Thank you for your response,  Prof. Lasseter.  I am sorry to be late to answer back.

I entirely agree with the former half of your statements.

Especially the last sentence that a series of sympathetic chemical reactions that occur within us also serve as added information must be absolutely correct.  And I suppose one of them must be a neurological reaction.

I could not understand well, however, the latter half, because you used sentences composed from double negations.  For a foreigner like me, an English statement with double negations is difficult to understand so soon.

Anyway at the end of your latter statement, you summerize that a chemical system, that is, primordial chemical communication reaction system, develop and diverge among various living beings. And they are the human language and honey bee dance language.  Prof. Lasseter, you are really a chemist, or a biochemist.

Regarding the term "convergent evolution" that I used, I need to compensate for.  I intended to mean that both of bee language and human language have gone beyod the critical line which delimits the level of emotional transmission and the level of objective information transmission.  Yelling animal is emanating its voice as an emotional carrier.  On the contrary, human speaks a word or a sequence of words in order to describe a thing or to instruct other person.  Bee dances to inform his companies about the place of the food, tells the direction of the food location with reference to Sun's direction and gravitational vertical line, tells the distance of the food location from the hive by dancing the straight leg course of "8" letter vigourously.  Both of humans and bees devised "carrier waves" for information.  Human's is articulate vocal pronounciation.  And bee's is geometrical dancing.  Both of behaviors function to give other individuals an objective, not emotional, information.  By the term "convergent evolution" I wished to express this thing.

Sir, if you have time, let us continue our discussion.

How do you imagine the origin of the primordial chemical systems that communicate each other and the transition from the primordial chemcal communication reaction system to vocal, facial, postural expression?  And more important thing, how do you imagine the transition from vocal glooming, vocal aggression to calm articulate verbal word pronouciation each of which was given its own meaning?

If you would like to change the subject to discuss, please feel free to propose.

And any other man is also welcome.



April 22, 2012 

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Re: A Biological Question No.2. Do you know other theory about the origin of human language?

I am a Japanese living in the central region now.

About 15 years or so, I travelled to the southern islands of Japan.

Arriving an island, I rented a car to go around the island.

On the way, I stopped at a beach to see the seacape.

Standing still on the beach, I had noticed a movement.  It was an approach toward to me by a young little fish.

He jumped above the sea surface.

It seemed to me like as if he said "Hello, I am here!"

Then I felt as if I had understood his mind.  So that I threw a little stone onto the sea as my response.

This was the end of the communication between a fish and a human.

Do you know whether there is a fish psychology dicipline or not yet?

Do you believe that every fish has his or her mind?

A Pithecantropus Japonicus who, along a riverside, is fishing without baiting the hook with a worm

April 27, 2013

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Re: A Biological Question No.2. Do you know other theory about the origin of human language?


   I don't know whether there is a fish psychology discipline or not, but one of the trivia statements I read on the inside of a Snapple Drink cap said "A goldfish has a memory span of 3 seconds".  With that knowledge, I now believe every pet goldfish has his or her mind, every goldfish can be taught chemistry, but those same goldfish probably won't pass a test.

Although I have no formal education in fish psychology, I believe barracudas are essentially different than goldfish. I saw one once while scuba diving in Turks and Caicos with another chemist. I wouldn't want a barracuda as a pet, but if I had a castle I'd keep one in the moat, like a guard dog.

Best Regards,

Deb Walsh

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Re: A Biological Question No.2. Do you know other theory about the origin of human language?

Dear Deb,

In Japan, the blooming season of the dogwood is almost over, and now instaed, the flowers of azaleas which were planted along the roadside are begining to bloom fully.  In white, in bright pink, or in miscelaneous mix of white and pink, they are blooming very beautifully.  What flower is most popular in your country?  I myself like the flowers of the dogwood.

Thank you for your response.

Reading your response, I have remembered an old book.  It is "Das Sogenannte Boese"(The So-Called Evil) written by Konrad Lorenz.  I read it in my youth by Japanese translation some 37 years ago.  The Japanese title was "The Aggression, The Natural History of Evil".

In this book the behavior of fighting fish was introduced.  A couple of two mail individuals are, in a sense, "confrontationally social".  The intensity of offensive behavior of one individual of the confrontating couple was described as a function of the distance from his lair or nest.

About 30 years ago or so, the old biology researchers must regarded such an aggressive behavior as an automatical one caused by the concept of "key releaser".  But I wonder whether the today's scientists interprete the behavior in the same way.


If your pet Barraqudas have felt the moat of your castle-house as their own comfortable lair or nest, then your plan to keep them as the watchdog may work due to the "fighting fish principle."

But the remaining question is how the Barraquda thinks the human intruder.  "Is this strange animal having four legs my social enemy?  Is he delicious if I eat him?"



April 30, 2013

P.S.  When I was a child I was taught from my father that even a 40 cm-sized flat fish can bite off our finger!

So if a Barraquda has intnded to do, then it can bite off our arm?

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