[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantics of Natural Languages

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 31 May 2009 15:56:25 -0400
Message-id: <4A22E0E9.2010704@xxxxxxxxxxx>
An interesting new bit of data to add to this thread about
the neurological processes underlying language:    (01)

    Why Can We Talk? 'Humanized' Mice Speak Volumes About
    Evolutionary Past    (02)

The mice with a human copy of the FOXP2 gene, which is somehow
related to language, don't actually speak.  But they squeak in
a lower frequency than other mice, and their brains have
developed more complex neural interconnections.    (03)

Former President Bush warned about the dangers of human-animal
hybrids, and this is an example.  (Maybe he would have become
a better speaker if they had implanted an extra copy of this
gene into him.)    (04)

Excerpts below.    (05)

John Sowa
_________________________________________________________________    (06)

Mice carrying a "humanized version" of a gene believed to influence 
speech and language may not actually talk, but they nonetheless do have 
a lot to say about our evolutionary past, according to a report in the 
May 29th issue of the journal Cell...    (07)

One important difference between humans and chimpanzees they have 
studied are two amino acid substitutions in FOXP2. Those changes became 
fixed after the human lineage split from chimpanzees and earlier studies 
have yielded evidence that the gene underwent positive selection. That 
evolutionary change is thought to reflect selection for some important 
aspects of speech and language.    (08)

"Changes in FOXP2 occurred over the course of human evolution and are 
the best candidates for genetic changes that might explain why we can 
speak," Enard said. "The challenge is to study it functionally." ...    (09)

Mice with the human FOXP2 show changes in brain circuits that have 
previously been linked to human speech, the new research shows. 
Intriguingly enough, the genetically altered mouse pups also have 
qualitative differences in ultrasonic vocalizations they use when placed 
outside the comfort of their mothers' nests. But, Enard says, not enough 
is known about mouse communication to read too much yet into what 
exactly those changes might mean...    (010)

Those differences offer a window into the evolution of speech and 
language capacity in the human brain. They said it will now be important 
to further explore the mechanistic basis of the gene's effects and their 
possible relationship to characteristics that differ between humans and 
apes...    (011)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (012)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>