Saturday, 12 November 2011

New Darwinian Explanation of the Origin of Language: Young Apes Invented It by Gesticulating with Their Arms

The newest Darwinian fable features an ape. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

The origin of language is a big mystery for Darwinists who only accept naturalistic explanations. A recent explanation has to do with the origin of languages.

Katja Liebal, of the Max Planck Institute, and colleagues examined the communication of young great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orang-utans) and published their results in the American Journal of Primatology.

At a very early stage young apes learn to communicate with older apes by gesticulating with their arms. Liebal’s research team found out that only humans and great apes learn to use their arms to communicate at an early age.

From there it’s a small Darwinian step to the origin of language (especially in some popular pro-evolution publications). However, in real life the intellectual leap is considerably longer.

Darwinian explanations might be intriguing but they often have little if anything to do with real science. Even now, some researchers doubt whether this ape research at all relates to the origin of language. We should not forget that all animal species communicate in one way or another. Different species might not understand the ”language” of other species. A cat, for instance, moves its tail for a purpose that differs entirely from that of a dog wagging its rear end.

According to Genesis, Adam could speak from the very beginning, so language never evolved.


Schultz, Nora. 2011. Baby apes' arm waving hints at origins of language. New Scientist (10 November).