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Topic: Where Did Language Come From?

Of all the features often proposed for distinguishing humans from the other animals — bipedalism, tool making — it's language that seems to be the most compelling difference between us and them. Even with the disputed definitions of what exactly makes communication among members of a species a "language," there is clearly something unique about the robust, versatile, complex and innovative way we humans transmit ideas and information to one another. The question that neurologist and anthropologist Terry Deacon attempts to answer is one every child has wondered: why can't animals talk? Deacon's research investigates the differences between the brain anatomy and chemistry of humans and that of the other primates, how those differences evolved, and what it all may tell us about the origins of our uniquely human cognitive and language abilities.

ABOUT THE SERIES: Ask a Scientist is an informative, entertaining, casual science lecture series, held at a San Francisco cafe. Each event features a speaker on a current topic, a short presentation, and the opportunity to ask all those burning questions that have been keeping you up at night. No tests, grades, or pressure…just food, drinks, socializing, and conversation about the universe’s most fascinating mysteries.

Official Website: http://www.askascientistSF.com

Added by fourquarts on November 7, 2007