Humans were able to talk 300,000 years ago, new research has
Pre-Neanderthals who lived in northern Spain could utter basic
vowel sounds, say researchers working at the Atapuerca
archaeological site in Burgos Province.
They had voice boxes at an evolutionary stage between
chimpanzees and modern humans.
It is the first time fossil evidence for this has been found,
the Spanish daily La Razon said.
The findings are based on studies of a complete skull found in
the Sima de los Huesos (Pit of Bones) in Atapuerca in 1992 among the
remains of over thirty other people.
They were announced at a news conference by the co-director of
the Atapuerca excavations, Juan Luis Arsuaga, and fellow
palaeontologist Ignacio Martinez.
"For the first time, we can say that an anatomically
intermediate situation between the chimpanzee and Man existed on the
planet - not only anatomical but also functional", said Martinez.