Posted: Nov 24, 2010 12:04 pm
by katja z
Mr.Samsa wrote:I think there's some confusion over how "unique" the human brain and our abilities are... We're unique in the sense that no other animal has built a rocket ship or developed a system of algebra, but there is nothing particularly special or distinct about human abilities. Whatever we can do, animals can do too - it's just a difference of degree. Precursors to language? Look at animals that understand sign language, grammar, recursion, etc.

The genetic story told in the OP fits with what you're saying - far from being uniquely human, the FOXP2 gene, which seems to have a lot to do with language, is responsible for some seriously interesting behaviours in other animals, including birdsong. We've simply taken this a bit (or a lot) further - or rather, it has taken us a bit further ;).