Why don’t monkeys talk to us?

New research tells us that if our primate cousins don’t do language, it’s not because of their vocal tracts. Those appear to be speech-ready. So if the voice is good to go, what’s the holdup?

Daniel is talking apes with Ben and Kylie on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Coel Healy


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Patreon extras for this episode

Episode 273: Voice of the Apes [128 kbps]

Cutting Room Floor 273: Voice of the Apes


Show notes

Swearing meme

Frankly, we do give a damn: The relationship between profanity and honesty
https://www.academia.edu/29725191/Frankly_we_do_give_a_damn_The_relationship_between_profanity_and_honesty

People who swear tend to be more honest
http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/21/14341850/profanity-swearing-honesty-linguistics-language

People who curse a lot have better vocabularies than those who don’t, study finds
http://www.sciencealert.com/people-who-curse-a-lot-have-better-vocabularies-than-those-who-don-t-study-finds

Swearing More Is Actually A Sign Of Having A Better Vocabulary, Study Finds
http://www.iflscience.com/brain/knowing-more-swear-words-linked-wider-vocabulary-study-finds/

People Who Can Swear A Lot Found To Have Larger Vocabularies, So Suck It
http://uproxx.com/life/swearing-correlates-with-bigger-vocabulary-f-ck-yeah-it-does/

Julia Roberts vs. Sally Field in Celebrity Curse Off
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0swXMgM284o

Orangutan Found To Mimic Human Speech
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpoydpDHT8A

Voice control in orangutan gives clues to early human speech
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-07/du-vci072616.php

Monkeys Could Talk, but They Don’t Have the Brains for It
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/science/monkeys-speech.html

Monkey vocal tracts are speech-ready
http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/12/e1600723

Fitch (and von Humboldt) on monkey talk
http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/

New Thoughts on the Origins of Human Speech
http://www.archaeology.org/news/5197-170112-baboons-vowels-speech

Baboons use vowel sounds strikingly similar to humans
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/baboons-show-they-ve-got-another-building-block-language-vowellike-sounds

Why a lowered larynx is good for human speech production
http://www.ling.cam.ac.uk/mark/Lowered_larynx_MJJ_York_Jan_2010.pdf

The descended larynx is not uniquely human.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1088793/

From Grunting To Gabbing: Why Humans Can Talk
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129083762

Why monkeys can’t talk—and what they would sound like if they could
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/why-monkeys-can-t-talk-and-what-they-would-sound-if-they-could

Lemurs groom-at-a-distance through vocal networks
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347215003474

‘Baby talk’ in marmoset monkeys
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170116091416.htm

Rogue Scientists Race to Save Climate Data from Trump
https://www.wired.com/2017/01/rogue-scientists-race-save-climate-data-trump/

President Trump ordered the National Park Service to find photos that made his inauguration look huge
http://www.salon.com/2017/01/27/president-trump-ordered-the-national-park-service-to-find-photos-that-made-his-inauguration-look-huge/

Trump admin tells National Park Service to halt tweets
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/21/politics/trump-national-park-service-tweets/

Online Etymology Dictionary: rogue
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=rogue

Here’s a List of All the U.S. Govt’s Rogue Twitter Accounts Fighting Trump’s Crackdown on Science
http://www.core77.com/posts/60230/Heres-a-List-of-All-the-US-Govts-Rogue-Twitter-Accounts-Fighting-Trumps-Crackdown-on-Science

These 24 ‘rogue’ Twitter accounts claim to be from federal agencies
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/the-conversation/sd-list-rogue-twitter-accounts-from-federal-agencies-20170125-htmlstory.html

Wikipedia: Samizdat
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samizdat

DataRefuge
https://www.datarefuge.org/about

Stony Brook student held at JFK in Trump travel ban released
http://www.newsday.com/long-island/suffolk/stony-brook-student-held-at-jfk-in-trump-travel-ban-released-1.13032310


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: http://www.simplish.org/media/images/gorilla.gif