Neanderthals Speak!

Sound systemUsing fossils found in France, researchers have made a model of the voice box of Neanderthals in order to re-create the types of sounds they could possibly have made. The model is part of an ongoing study to determine whether Neanderthals had a spoken language. Scientists have previously found that Neanderthals did have the same gene that has been linked to language ability in humans.

Neanderthals are believed to be ancient ancestors of humans. They are believed to have lived from about 170,000 years ago until about 30,000 years ago, in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Based on the voice box model and the language gene, many scientists believe that Neanderthals had at least some of the genetic traits needed to develop language. They are not sure, however, if the hominids had the fine nerves in the lips and tongue that are needed to do anything more than grunt.

Related Links

  • Neanderthals Speak Out After 30,000 Years
    Article covers the re-creation of the voice box, and the study to determine whether Neanderthals had the power of speech. Includes a computer-generated re-creation of a Neanderthal making an “E” sound.
    (Source: New Scientist, April 15, 2008)
  • Neanderthals Speak for First Time in 50,000 Years
    Covers the research being done on Neanderthal speech, includes the re-creation of the Neanderthal “E” sound and compares it to modern humans. Includes some history of discoveries made about Neanderthals.
    (Source: The Telegraph, April 16, 2008)
  • Neanderthal Range Map
    Map of the area in which Neanderthals are believed to have lived. Includes sites where archaeological finds have been made.
    (Source: National Geographic)


  1. jonathan says:

    neanderthals are among us even now!

  2. Nour says:

    Good get on the Day by Day cartoon, Professor Althouse. And whveoer set up the anti-Althouse site has a fine sense of humor – as do you for providing the link. Laugh out loud high-larity for fans. I wonder, though, what the podcasts will sound like over there.

  3. Peter says:

    I am guessing, Neanderthals spoke more with their throat, further down, than with their vocal cords