PerspectiveEthnomusicology

The world in a song

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Science  22 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6468, pp. 944-945
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay2214

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  • RE: Seafood, diving, song and speech
    • Marc Verhaegen, Medical Doctor, Study Center for Anthropology, B-2580 Belgium.

    Very interesting article, thanks a lot. Since some sort of "music" is also present in gibbon songs, so it is not unlikely that the hominoid LCA (the last common ancestor of apes and humans) already had the "principle of tonality". Perhaps it is worth investigating whether gibbon song is also built on a basic tone and a small set of related notes?
    Music is apparently one of the biological preadaptations to human speech. Other preadaptations to speech seem to be the result our ancestors' early-Pleistocene diaspora along African & southern Eurasian coasts, islands and rivers (google "coastal dispersal of Pleistocene Homo 2018 biology vs anthropocentrism" ), for instance (1) our capacity of voluntary breathing (cf diving for shallow-aquatic foods), (2) pronunciation of labial, dental, palatal & pharyngeal consonants (cf closure of lips, teeth, palate & pharynx for suction of slippery sea-foods), possibly (3) archaic Homo's drastic brain enlargement ("seafood = brainfood": DHA, iodine, taurin etc. in shellfish etc.) and (4) the human skill of "vocal learning", unique among hominoids (sound imitation, e.g. for learning a "family tune" for localizing family members).
    See M.Vaneechoutte et al. 2011 "Seafood, diving, song and speech" p.181-9 in M.Vaneechoutte et al. eds "Was Man more aquatic in the past?" eBook Bentham Sci.Publ. (google "speech origins 2017 verhae...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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