Our ancestors heard the world differently
By T.K. Randall
September 26, 2015 · 5 comments
How did our ancestors hear the world ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Cicero Moraes
Scientists have determined that early humans had very different hearing abilities than we do today.
The research was based on the careful reconstruction of the internal ear anatomy of two early humans using a combination of CT scanning and 3D computer modeling.
The findings indicated that our ancestors living in South Africa around two million years ago were much more sensitive to close-range sounds and could hear much softer sounds than we can today.
It is believed that this difference would have helped to facilitate close-range communication - something that at the time would have consisted of a series of vowel-based calls.
"We concluded that Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus had a heightened sensitivity to sound between 1.0-3.0 kHz compared with both chimpanzees and humans," said anthropologist Rolf Quam who led the study.
The discovery offers a unique glimpse back in time and helps scientists to understand how our ancestors' perceptions of the world changed over the last few million years.
But what will happen in the future - will our hearing continue to evolve ?
"It is unlikely that our hearing pattern will change much in the future," said Quam.
"Our previous studies have shown that human fossils that date to around 430,000 years ago from northern Spain, and which represent ancestors of the later-in-time Neanderthals, had a hearing pattern almost identical to our own."
Source: Discovery News
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