Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny

Booze created language:

He believes the need for grain to make alcohol fuelled human development and domestication.
‘We don’t know for sure and have limited archaeological evidence, but if you had your choice, which would it be?’ said Dr McGovern.
‘Once you have fermented beverages, it causes a change of behaviour, creates a mind-altering experience.
‘I think that could be important in developing language, music, the arts in general and then religion, too’, he said.

The proof of this is in what happens when you get drunk with people who nominally do not speak the same language. Matters quickly spiral (up or down, up to you) to where a primal language is understood by all.


“That might be Australian I suppose, but know what you mean, yep.”

7 thoughts on “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”

  1. Trade created language. Or at least some common language apart from grunts. Sex created language too. Agriculture predates the evidence the prof has found.
    No end to the nonsense in this.

  2. bif,

    To be fair, alcohol seems to be fairly integral to agriculture (it’s one way to preserve a surplus remember), and would have been a driver for trade (brewing tolerable alcohol is a skill), so I would see these as all together.

    Sex and alcohol have never been associated in any way though…

  3. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The main thing we know about how language evolved is we don’t know how language evolved. We have some pretty plausible hypotheses, and we’re even got some real theories, but it’s probably the hardest problem in evolutionary biology right now.

  4. BiCR
    You’re right but there are other hard problems too.
    Why be intelligent when you have eyes and fire and can watch where vultures are circling and then just drive off the lions and hyenas. Brains cost a lot of calories, and are (so to speak) heavy and difficult to keep on your head.
    Neanderthals had bigger brains than us. However, we won.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset


    One theory is that by harnessing fire and learning to cook meat we, early homo sapiens, got more calories from both the meat by not having to use calories on digestion. This allowed the brains to be used more extensively.

  6. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Brains and the things you can do with brains are co-evolutionary processes. And it’s not just encephalisation quotient that’s important but brain structure itself. We have a huge neocortex and a big cerebellum, for example. Both of those are critical in language. But we also have a descended larynx, which other primates don’t (even though other non-human animals do have one). You can’t properly vocalise without it. Did that co-evolve with the brain structures allowing language or was it a necessary precursor? It’s all very fascinating.

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