Clicca qui per scaricare

The evolution of human language. an alternative scenario (L’evoluzione del linguaggio umano. Uno scenario alternativo)
Titolo Rivista:  PARADIGMI
Autori/Curatori: Francesco Suman, Telmo Pievani
Anno di pubblicazione: 2015 Fascicolo: 2 Lingua: Italiano
Numero pagine: 24 P. 173-196 Dimensione file: 100 KB
DOI: 10.3280/PARA2015-002011
Il DOI è il codice a barre della proprietà intellettuale: per saperne di più, clicca qui e qui

Riportando dati aggiornati, si sviluppa la proposta di Deacon (2010) sul ruolo giocato da un rilassamento delle pressioni selettive nell’evoluzione del linguaggio articolato nell’uomo, fornendo un plausibile scenario evolutivo di supporto, basato sull’ipotesi dell'"auto-addomesticazione" (Gibbons, 2014). Ci si sofferma in particolare su alcuni tratti neotenici dello sviluppo, caratteristici dell’attuale Homo sapiens, sostenendo l’importanza (sia a livello individuale, sia a livello di gruppo) che questi possono aver ricoperto nel corso dell’evoluzione umana e associando la loro diffusione a un rilassamento delle pressioni selettive. Si fornisce un’ipotesi di come una simile condizione ecologica possa essere stata raggiunta, facendo riferimento alla teoria della costruzione di nicchia e portando l’esempio del controllo del fuoco. Si presentano infine alcuni possibili sviluppi dell’ipotesi qui presentata che possono risultare fecondi all’interno del dibattito sull’evoluzione del linguaggio.

Keywords: Auto-addomesticazione, Costruzione di nicchia, Evoluzione del linguaggio, Exaptation, Neotenia, Rilassamento delle pressioni selettive.

  1. Ahlberg P.E. and Clack J.A. (2006). A firm step from water to land. Nature, 440, 6: 747-749.
  2. Antón S.C., Potts R. and Aiello L.C. (2014). Evolution of early Homo: an integrated biological perspective. Science, 344: 1236828,, DOI:10.1126/science.1236828AtwellL.,KovarovicK.andKendalJeremyJ.R.(inpress).FireinthePlio-Pleistocene:thefunctionsofhomininfireuse,andthemechanistic,developmentalandevolutionaryconsequences.JASS,98,2015
  3. Barton R.B. and Harvey P.H. (2000). Mosaic evolution of brain structure in mammals. Nature, 405: 1055-1058.
  4. Berger L.R., de Ruiter D.J., Churchill S.E., Schmid P., Carlson K.J., Dirks P.H.G.M. and Kibii J.M. (2010). Australopithecus sediba: a new species of Homo-like Austhralopith from South Africa. Science, 328: 195-204.
  5. Berger L. (2013). The mosaic nature of Australopithecus sediba. Nature, 340: 163.
  6. Bufill E., Agustì J. and Blesa R. (2011). Human neoteny revisited: the case of synaptic plasticity. American Journal of Human Biology. 23: 729-739.
  7. Charrier C., Joshi K., Coutinho-Budd J., Kim J., Lambert N., de Marchena J., Jin W., Vanderhaeghen P., Ghosh A., Sassa T. and Polleuxi F. (2012). Inhibition of SRGAP2 function by its human-specific paralogs induces neoteny during spine maturation. Cell, 149: 923-935.
  8. Cieri R.L., Churchill S.E., Franciscus R.G., Tan J. and Hare B. (2014). Craniofacial feminization, social tolerance and the origins of behavioral modernity. Current Anthropology, 55, 4: 419-443.
  9. Curry A. (2013). The milk revolution. Nature, 500: 20-22.
  10. Darwin C. (1871). The descent of man and selection in relation to sex. London: John Murray.
  11. Deacon T.W. (2010). Colloquium paper, A role for relaxed selection in the evolution of the language capacity. PNAS, 107: 9000-9006.
  12. Dennis M.Y., Nuttle X., Sudmant P.H., Antonacci F., Graves T.A., Nefedov M., Rosenfeld J.A., Sajjdian S., Malig M., Kotkiewicz H., Curry C.J., Shafer S., Shaffer L.G., de Jong P.J., Wilson R.K. and Eichleri E.E. (2012), Evolution of human-specific neural SRGAP2 genes by incomplete segmental duplication. Cell, 149: 912-922.
  13. Falk D. (2009). Finding Our Tongues: Mothers, Infants and the Origin of Language. New York: Basic Books.
  14. Fisher S.E. and Ridley M. (2013). Culture, genes, and the human revolution. Science, 340: 929-930.
  15. Fitch W.T. (2004). Kin selection and “mother tongues”: a neglected component in language evolution. In: Oller D.K. and Griebel U., eds. Evolution of Communication Systems: A comparative approach. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press: 275-296.
  16. Fitch W.T. (2010). The evolution of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  17. Fitch W.T. (2011). The evolution of syntax: an exaptationist perspective. Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, 3: 1-12.
  18. Fitch W.T. (2012). Evolutionary Developmental Biology and Human Language Evolution: Constraints on Adaptation. Evolutionary Biology, 39: 613-637.
  19. Fitch W.T., Huber L. and Bugnyari T. (2010). Social cognition and the evolution of language: constructing cognitive phylogenies. Neuron Review, 65: 795-814.
  20. Gibbons A. (2014). How we tamed ourselves and became modern – “selfdomestication” turned humans into the cooperative species we are today. Science,
  21. 346, 6208: 405-406 Gould S.J. (1977). Ontogeny and Phylogeny. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Hardison R. (1999). The evolution of hemoglobin. American Scientist, 87: 126-137.
  22. Hare B., Wobber V. and Wrangham R. (2012). The self-domestication hypothesis: evolution of bonobo psychology is due to selection against aggression. Animal Behaviour, 83: 573-585.
  23. Harris R., ed. (1996). The origin of language. Bristol: Thoemmes Press.
  24. Hart D.L. and Sussman R.W. (2009). Man the hunted: primates, predators, and human evolution – expanded edition. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press.
  25. Hauser Marc D., Chomsky N. and Tecumseh Fitch W. (2002). The faculty of language: What is it, who has it, and how has it evolved?. Science, 298: 1569-1579.
  26. Hauser D.M., Yang C., Berwick R.C., Tattersall I., Ryan M.J., Watumull J., Chomsky N. and Lewontin R.C. (2014). The mistery of language evolution. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 401: 1-23.
  27. Hawkes K., O’Connell J.F., Blurton Jones N.G., Alvarez H. and Charnov E.L. (1998). Grandmothering, menopause, and the evolution of human life histories. PNAS, 95: 1335-1339.
  28. Hawkes K. (2003). Grandmothers and the evolution of human longevity. American Journal of Human Biology, 15: 380-400.
  29. Hewes G. (1973). Primate communication and the gestural origin of language. Current Anthropology, 14, 5-25.
  30. Innan H. and Kondrashov F. (2010). The evolution of gene duplications: classifying and distinguishing between models. Nature Reviews – Genetics, 11: 97-108.
  31. Jackendoff R. (1999). Possible stages in the evolution of language capacity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 3, 7: 272-279.
  32. Kagawa H., Yamada H., Lin R., Mizuta T., Hasegawa T. and Okanoya K. (2012). Ecological correlates of song complexity in white-rumped munias – the implication of relaxation as a causa for signal variation in birdsong. Interaction Studies, 13, 2: 263-284.
  33. Kendal J.R., Teherani J.J. and Odling-Smee J. (2011). Human niche construction in interdisciplinary focus. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. B., 366: 785-792.
  34. Lathi D.C., Johnson N.A., Aije B.C., Otto S.P., Hendry A.P., Blumstein D.T., Coss R.G., Donohue K. and Foster S.A. (2009). Relaxed selection in the wild. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24, 9: 487-496.
  35. Leach H. (2003). Human domestication reconsidered. Current Anthropology, 44, 3: 349-368.
  36. Leigh S.R. (2004). Brain growth, life history and cognition in primate and human evolution. American Journal of Primatology, 62: 139-164.
  37. Lieberman D.E., Krovitz G.E., Yates F.W., Devlin M. and Claire M.S. (2004). Effects of food processing on masticatory strain and craniofacial growth in a retrognathic face. Journal of Human Evolution, 46: 655-677.
  38. Lieberman P. (2007). The evolution of human speech – its anatomical and neural bases. Current Anthropology, 48, 1: 39-66.
  39. Lynch M. and Katju V. (2004). The altered evolutionary trajectories of gene duplicates. Trends in Genetics, 20, 11: 544-549.
  40. Medawar P.B. (1952). An unsolved problem of biology. London: H. K. Lewis. McKinney M.L. and McNamara K.J. (1991). Heterochrony – the evolution of ontogeny. New York: Springer.
  41. Neubauer S. and Hublin J.J. (2012). The evolution of human brain development. Evolutionary Biology, 38: 568-586.
  42. Odling-Smee F.J., Laland K.N. and Feldman M.W. (2003). Niche construction – the neglected process in evolution. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
  43. Ohno S. (1970). Evolution by gene duplication, New York: Springer-Verlag.
  44. Okanoya K. (2004a). The Bengalese Finch: a window on the behavioral neurobiology of birdsong syntax. Annals NY Acad Sci, 1016: 724-735.
  45. Okanoya K. (2004b). Song syntax in Bengalese finches: proximate and ultimate analyses. Advances in the Study of Behavior, 34: 297-346.
  46. Okanoya K. (2007). Language evolution and an emergent property. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 17: 271-276.
  47. Okanoya K. (2012). Behavioural Factors Governing Song Complexity in Bengalese finches. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 25: 44-59.
  48. Okasha S. (2006). Evolution and the levels of selection. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press.
  49. Penin X., Berge C. and Baylac M. (2002). Ontogenetic study of the skull in modern humans and the common chimpanzees: Neotenic hypothesis reconsidered with a tridimensional procrustes analysis. Am J Phys Anthropol, 118: 50-62.
  50. Pievani D. (2011). Altruism as exaptation, and the evolution of human sociality. In: Sussman R.W., Cloninger C.R., eds., Origins of Cooperation and Altruism. New York: Springer: 41-61.
  51. Pievani D. (2015). Between skeptics and adaptationists: new prospects for human language evolution. Ciência & Ambiente: 1-16.
  52. Pievani D. and Serrelli E. (2011). Exaptation in human evolution: how to test adaptive vs exaptive hypotheses. Journal of Anthropological Sciences, 89: 1-15.
  53. Pinker S. and Bloom P. (1990). Natural language and natural selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 13, 4: 707-784.
  54. Pinker S. (1994), The language instinct, New York: William Morrow and Company. Pinker S. and Jackendoff R. (2005). The faculty of language: what’s special about it? Cognition, 95: 201-236.
  55. Preuss T.M. (2011). The human brain: rewired and running hot. Ann NY Acad Sci, 1225 (Suppl 1): E182-E191,, DOI:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06001.x
  56. Ritchie G. and Kirby S. (2007). A possible role for selective masking in the evolution of complex, learned communication systems. In: Lyon C., Nehaniv C.L. and Cangelosi A., eds., Emergence of communication and language. Berlin: Springer: 387-401.
  57. Robson S.L. and Wood B. (2008). Hominin life history: reconstruction and evolution. Journal of Anatomy, 212, 4: 394-425.
  58. Schimelmitz R., Kuhn S.L., Jelinek A.J., Ronen A., Clark A.E. and Weinstein-Evron M. (2014). “Fire at will”: the emergence of habitual fire use 350,000 years ago. Journal of Human Evolution, 77: 196-203.
  59. Schwartz G.T. (2012). Growth, Development, and Life History throughout the Evolution of Homo. Current Anthropology, 53, S6: S395-S408.
  60. Smith T.M. (2013). Teeth and human life-history evolution. Annu. Rev. Anthropol., 42: 191-208. Smith, T.M., P. Tafforeauc, Reid D.J., Pouech J., Lazzari V. and Zermeno J.P. et al. (2010). Dental evidence for ontogenetic differences between modern humans and Neanderthals. PNAS, 107, 49: 20923-20928.
  61. Somel M., Franz H., Yan Z., Lorenc A., Guo S., Giger T., Kelso J., Nickle B., Dannemann M., Bahn S., Webster M.J., Weickert C.S., Lachmann M., Paabo S. and Khaiatovich P. (2009). Transctiptional neoteny in the human brain. PNAS, 106, 14: 5743-5748.
  62. Somel M., Liu X. and Khaitovich P. (2013). Human brain evolution: transcripts, meabolites and their regulators. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 14, 2: 112-127.
  63. Somel M., Rohlfs R. and Liu X. (2014). Transcriptomic insights into human brain evolution: acceleration, neutrality, heterochrony. Curr. Op. Gen. & Dev., 29: 110-119.
  64. Standen E.M., Du T.Y. and Larsson H.C.E. (2014). Developmental plasticity and the origin of tetrapods. Nature, 513: 54-58.
  65. Sterelny K. (2011). From hominins to humans: how sapiens became behaviorally modern. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B., 366: 809-822.
  66. Szamado S. and Szathmary E. (2006). Selective scenarios for the emergence of natural language. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 21, 10: 555-561.
  67. Wallace A.R. (1869). Sir Charles Lyell on geological climates and the origin of species. Quarterly Review, 126: 359-394.
  68. Wallace A.R. (1870). The limits of natural selection as applied to man. In Id. Contributions to the theory of natural selection – A series of essays, London, Macmillan, 2nd Ed.: 332-371.
  69. Washburn S.L. and Lancaster C. (1968). The evolution of hunting. In: Lee R.D., Devore I., eds., Man the hunter, Chicago: Aldine: 293-303.
  70. Wilkins A.S., Wrangham R.W. and Fitch W.T. (2014). The Domestication Syndrome in mammals: a unified explanation based on neural crest cell behavior and genetics. Genetics, 197, 3: 795-808.
  71. Williams G.C. (1957). Pleiotropy, natural selection, and the evolution of senescence. Evolution, 11: 398-411.
  72. Wood B. and Aiello L.C. (1998). Taxonomic and functional implications of mandibular scaling in early hominins. Am J Phys Anthropol, 105: 523-538.
  73. Wrangham R.W. and Carmody R.N. (2010). Human adaptation to the control of fire. Evolutionary Anthropology, 19, 5: 187-199.
  74. Zhang J. (2003). Evolution by gene duplication: an update. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 18, 6: 292-297.
  75. Zollikofer C.P. and Ponce de Leòn M. (2010). The evolution of hominin ontogenies. Seminarin Cell & Developmental Biology, 21: 441-452.
Francesco Suman, Telmo Pievani, The evolution of human language. an alternative scenario in "PARADIGMI" 2/2015, pp. 173-196, DOI:10.3280/PARA2015-002011


FrancoAngeli è membro della Publishers International Linking Association associazione indipendente e no profit per facilitare l'accesso degli studiosi ai contenuti digitali nelle pubblicazioni professionali e scientifiche
Acquista qui

Informazioni sulla rivista

Sottoscrivi il FEED
per conoscere subito
i contenuti dell'ultimo fascicolo di questa Rivista

English Version

Download credit