News of the WeekLANGUAGE EVOLUTION

'Speech Gene' Tied to Modern Humans

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Science  16 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5584, pp. 1105
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5584.1105a

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Summary

Last year researchers identified the first gene implicated in the ability to speak, FOXP2. This week, a research group shows that the human version of this so-called speech gene appears to date back no more than 200,000 years--about the time that anatomically modern humans emerged. The authors argue that their findings are consistent with speculation that the worldwide expansion of modern humans was driven by the emergence of language abilities.

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