Neanderthals could produce and hear human speech, new study finds

Their ear structures were not that different from ours.

Credit: Mercedes Conde-Valverde/University of Binghamton
  • Neanderthals are emerging as having been much more advanced than previously suspected.
  • Analysis of ear structures indicated by fossilized remains suggests they had everything they needed for understanding the subtleties of speech.
  • The study also concludes that Neanderthals could produce the consonants required for a rich spoken language.
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Why some people think they hear the voices of the dead

A new study looks at why mysterious voices are sometimes taken as spirits and other times as symptoms of mental health issues.

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  • Both spiritualist mediums and schizophrenics hear voices.
  • For the former, this constitutes a gift; for the latter, mental illness.
  • A study explores what the two phenomena have in common.
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Your body image can be influenced by smells and sounds

Research finds that our sense of self can be manipulated by certain smells and sounds.

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  • Researchers find that there are smells that make us feel thinner and lighter, and other smells that do the opposite.
  • The sounds of our footsteps can have a similar effect.
  • The researchers suggest that sensory stimuli play a part in our self-image and may be subject to beneficial manipulation.
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Zebrafish give new insight to sound sensitivity in autism

These tiny fish are helping scientists understand how the human brain processes sound.

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  • Fragile X syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by changes in a gene that scientists call the "fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1)" gene. People who have FXS or autism often struggle with sensitivity to sound.
  • According to the research team, FXS is caused by the disruption of a gene. By disrupting that same gene in zebrafish larvae, they can examine the effects and begin to understand more about this disrupted gene in the human brain.
  • Using the zebrafish, Dr. Constantin and the team were able to gather insights into which parts of the brain are used to process sensory information.
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How a musician locks onto a rhythm, according to science

A study from McGill University reveals the secret of musicians who have excellent time.

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  • When a person locks onto a beat, it's because their brain rhythms have become aligned with it.
  • Listening and physically performing are brain functions not directly related to rhythm synchronization.
  • The study tracked EEG brain activity during listening, playing along, and recreating rhythms.
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