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. 2018 Dec 31;96:111-124.
doi: 10.4436/JASS.96010. Epub 2018 Dec 1.

Paleo-oscillomics: Inferring Aspects of Neanderthal Language Abilities From Gene Regulation of Neural Oscillations

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Paleo-oscillomics: Inferring Aspects of Neanderthal Language Abilities From Gene Regulation of Neural Oscillations

Elliot Murphy et al. J Anthropol Sci. .
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Abstract

Language seemingly evolved from changes in brain anatomy and wiring. We argue that language evolution can be better understood if particular changes in phasal and cross-frequency coupling properties of neural oscillations, resulting in core features of language, are considered. Because we cannot track the oscillatory activity of the brain from extinct hominins, we used our current understanding of the language oscillogenome (that is, the set of genes responsible for basic aspects of the oscillatory activity relevant for language) to infer some properties of the Neanderthal oscillome. We have found that several candidates for the language oscillogenome show differences in their methylation patterns between Neanderthals and humans. We argue that differences in their expression levels could be informative of differences in cognitive functions important for language.

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