Comment on “Monkey vocal tracts are speech-ready”

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science Advances  07 Jul 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 7, e1700442
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700442

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


Monkey vocal tracts are capable of producing monkey speech, not the full range of articulate human speech. The evolution of human speech entailed both anatomy and brains. Fitch, de Boer, Mathur, and Ghazanfar in Science Advances claim that “monkey vocal tracts are speech-ready,” and conclude that “…the evolution of human speech capabilities required neural change rather than modifications of vocal anatomy.” Neither premise is consistent either with the data presented and the conclusions reached by de Boer and Fitch themselves in their own published papers on the role of anatomy in the evolution of human speech or with the body of independent studies published since the 1950s.

  • Acoustic theory of speech production
  • species-specific human vocal tract
  • formant frequencies
  • quantal vowels
  • vocal tract normalization

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text