Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Gorilla "Song" Prompts Darwinian Speculations on Language Evolution

A gorilla “song” prompted speculations on language evolution.

Joel Kontinen

Evolutionists tend to see human traits in animals even when others wouldn’t. In 2012 science publications claimed that a beluga whale could speak (sort of, anyway), although it was no match for parrots.

Recently, stone-throwing chimps prompted at least one researcher to speculate about a chimp shrine.

When an orang-utan recently killed another orang-utan, the media did not hesitate to call it murder. The implication is that the great apes have some sort of moral code, as if the animal knew what was right and what wrong.

Now, when researchers heard a gorilla uttering voices that they described as song or hum, they claimed that it was a “discovery that could help shed light on how language evolved in early humans.”

Darwinian stories are often entertaining, but one might ask whether they have anything to do with science.

Mark Twain once said: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

This applies very well to Darwinian speculations on the human-animal connection.


Owens, Brian. 2016. Wild gorillas compose happy songs that they hum during meals. New Scientist (24 February).