We have looked both at how chimpanzees communicate in their natural environment and at projects in which chimpanzees learn to communicate through other modes (signing with the hands, messages encoded by buttons connected to a computer, etc.). Suppose that we found frozen remains of a Homo erectus and a Homo neanderthalensis and were able to use their DNA to undertake a “Jurassic Park” type of project by cloning these two species and establishing communities of them. Why would this latter type of project be likely to tell us more about how modern human Language originated and evolved than the two types of chimpanzee communication studies can tell us about this issue? Your answer should consider the following points:
(i) The relative places on the primate family tree of chimpanzees and Homo species.
(ii) The type of natural communication system used by modern chimpanzees (that is, the type from Pinker’s three types of animal communication systems)
(iii) How the communication systems of earlier Homo species may have differed from both the system of modern chimpanzees and the system of modern humans.