Monday October 22, 2018
Home Science & Technology Monkeys have ...

Monkeys have Vocal Tracts to produce Human Speech Sounds, what they lack is a Speech-Ready Brain: Study

Monkeys could produce comprehensible vowel sounds and even full sentences with their vocal tracts if they had the neural ability to speak

0
//
109
A monkey, Pixabay
Republish
Reprint

Washington, December 11, 2016: Monkeys have the vocal tracts to produce human speech sounds, but what they lack is a speech-ready brain, a new study has found.

The study, conducted by researchers from the US and Europe and published this week in the US journal Science Advances, used X-ray video to see within the mouth and throat of macaque monkeys induced to vocalise, eat food or make facial expressions, Xinhua news agency reported.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

The scientists then used these data to build a computer model of a monkey vocal tract, allowing them to answer the question “what would monkey speech sound like, if a human brain were in control?”

The results showed that monkeys could easily produce many different sounds, enough to produce thousands of distinct words.

For example, monkeys could produce comprehensible vowel sounds — and even full sentences — with their vocal tracts if they had the neural ability to speak.

However, the researchers noted that while monkeys would be understandable to the human ear, they would not sound precisely like humans.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

Therefore, the researchers concluded that previous research — largely based on plaster casts made from the vocal tracts of a monkey cadaver — underestimates primate vocal abilities and that evolution of human speech capabilities required neural changes rather than an adaptation of vocal anatomy.

“Now nobody can say that it’s something about the vocal anatomy that keeps monkeys from being able to speak — it has to be something in the brain,” said Asif Ghazanfar, Professor of psychology at the Princeton University and one of the study leaders.

“Even if this finding only applies to macaque monkeys, it would still debunk the idea that it’s the anatomy that limits speech in nonhumans.”

Thore Jon Bergman, Assistant Professor of psychology and ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan, who is familiar with the research but was not involved in it, said the research could help narrow down the origin of human speech.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

“It looks like mainly neuro-cognitive — as opposed to anatomical — differences contribute to the broader range of sounds we produce relative to other primates,” Bergman said in a statement released by the Princeton University.

“An important part of understanding human uniqueness is to know what our relatives do,” he said.

“This study shows the anatomical capability to make a variety of sounds, as we do with speech, was present long ago. This is useful for understanding the starting point for the evolution of language.” (IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

Next Story

Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

0
cryptocurrency. google
Google to charge $40 per device to Android makers. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?