Part of what keeps this world from falling to a Planet of the Apes-type situation is humankind’s ability to speak. Language gives us an unbelievable advantage in the animal kingdom, allowing us to keep our would-be conquerors at bay.
But as it turns out, monkeys do have the physical requirements necessary for speech, they just don’t have the right brains for it. Phew. That’s a relief. Let’s just hope evolution stops right here.
According to The New York Times, “A team of researchers reported that monkeys have a vocal tract capable of human speech. They argue that other primates can’t talk because they lack the right wiring in their brains.
“‘A monkey’s vocal tract would be perfectly adequate to produce hundreds, thousands of words,’ said W. Tecumseh Fitch, a cognitive scientist at the University of Vienna and a co-author of the new study.”
The article continues by explaining the human speech occurs due to a “complicated choreography of flowing air and contracting muscles. To make a particular sound, we have to give the vocal tract a particular shape. The vocal tracts of other primates contain the same elements as ours — from vocal cords to tongues to lips — but their geometry is different.”
So basically the only thing saving us from having our planet conquered by some apes is them figuring out how to fit a square peg in a round hole? We’re doomed.