What Pinnipeds Have to Say about Human Speech, Music, and the Evolution of Rhythm

Andrea Ravignani, W Tecumseh Fitch, Frederike D Hanke, Tamara Heinrich, Bettina Hurgitsch, Sonja A Kotz, Constance Scharff, Angela S Stoeger, Bart de Boer

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Abstract

Research on the evolution of human speech and music benefits from hypotheses and data generated in a number of disciplines. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the high relevance of pinniped research for the study of speech, musical rhythm, and their origins, bridging and complementing current research on primates and birds. We briefly discuss speech, vocal learning, and rhythm from an evolutionary and comparative perspective. We review the current state of the art on pinniped communication and behavior relevant to the evolution of human speech and music, showing interesting parallels to hypotheses on rhythmic behavior in early hominids. We suggest future research directions in terms of species to test and empirical data needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number274
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • evolution of speech
  • evolution of music
  • evolution of language
  • vocal learning
  • entrainment
  • timing
  • synchronization
  • seal
  • MALE HARBOR SEALS
  • LION ZALOPHUS-CALIFORNIANUS
  • PHOCA-VITULINA
  • WILD CHIMPANZEES
  • NONHUMAN ANIMALS
  • SOUND PRODUCTION
  • VOCAL MIMICRY
  • BEAT
  • PERCEPTION
  • PATTERNS

Cite this

Ravignani, A., Fitch, W. T., Hanke, F. D., Heinrich, T., Hurgitsch, B., Kotz, S. A., Scharff, C., Stoeger, A. S., & de Boer, B. (2016). What Pinnipeds Have to Say about Human Speech, Music, and the Evolution of Rhythm. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10, [274]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2016.00274