All macaques’ social groups are arranged around dominant, matriarchal females.
Primates are unquestionably clever: Monkeys can learn how to use money, and chimpanzees have a knack for game theory. But no one has ever taught a nonhuman primate to say “hello.”
Scientists have long been intrigued by the failure of primates to talk like us. Understanding the reasons may offer clues to how our own ancestors evolved full-blown speech, one of our most powerful adaptations.
On Friday, a team of researchers reported that monkeys have a vocal tract capable of human speech. They argue that other primates can’t talk because they lack the right wiring in their brains.
And the proof?
Dr. Fitch, a former student of Dr. Lieberman, and his colleagues came to a much different conclusion after reviewing X-ray videos of macaques.
Yep, matriarchal societies prevent speech.
But then every son in law ever has known that, right?