International collaboration for understanding the evolutionary process of human speech

Project Gist

Launching international collaboration for understanding the evolutionary process of human speech.

Keywords

language, primates, helium voices, vocal fold vibration, laryngeal descent

Background and Purpose

Speech is one of the physiological faculty uniquely to humans, and it is a consequence of evolutionary modifications of voice physiology in primates. We are required to know similarities and differences in voice physiology in non-human primates and humans, to understand the evolutionary process of human speech. There are many technical limitations to examine the voice physiology in non-human primates. The team members of this international collaboration have advanced techniques to examine voice physiology, and we share them and develop new multidisciplinary approaches to overcome such limitations. This collaboration examines many aspects of voice physiology, including phonation, articulation, and cognition, in non-human primates, to develop our better understanding about the evolution of speech.

Project Achievements

We promoted international exchanges of team members and performed the collaboration studies in Austria and Japan, to develop our better understandings about similarities and differences of voice physiology in non-human primates and humans. We had many papers in international scientific meetings and journals. These findings contribute to our better understandings of evolutionary process of human speech. This collaboration program also made many contributions to training of PM research leader for young members. We had two international workshops in USA and Japan, to expand our international research network. Our team members were successfully in and are preparing for getting research grants to develop our future and new collaboration.

Future Prospects

Our team supported by SPIRITS is preparing for an application to JSPS Bilateral Collaboration program of the University of Vienna and Kyoto University. We will regularly have international workshop to develop our collaboration and expand our network of researchers and topics of studies. We are planning next workshop in Sapporo.

Figure

EVOLANG2016 workshop “The Evolution of Speech”, New Orleans, USA
EVOLANG2016 workshop “The Evolution of Speech”, New Orleans, USA
SPIRITS Program workshop “Biology and Evolution of Speech”, Kyoto, Japan
SPIRITS Program workshop “Biology and Evolution of Speech”, Kyoto, Japan

Principal Investigator

NISHIMURA Takeshi

・NISHIMURA Takeshi
・Primate Research Institute
・Human language is regarded as a consequence of various adaptations accumulated in primate evolution. He uses multidisciplinary approaches to elucidate primate origins of biological foundations of human speech, to understand the evolutionary process of speech in anatomy, physiology, and behavior.