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December 12, 2003

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"Monkeyboy" No Longer Just a Harmless Insult

In Friday’s New York Times, Nicholas Wade writes of a quest to distinguish man from chimp:

The project received a lift two years ago when a large London family with barely intelligible speech was found to have mutations in a gene called FOXP2. Chimpanzees also have a FOXP2 gene, but it is significantly different. The human version shows signs of accelerated evolutionary change in the last 100,000 years, suggesting that the gene acquired a new function that helped confer the gift of speech.
I think we’re still underestimating nature’s hand in the nature vs. nurture tug-of-war. Yes, genetic differences within the human family are miniscule — but not insignificant. I’ll bet it’s a bit of a burden to have a gene that makes it more difficult to speak, ya know?
Posted December 12, 2003 at 9:46 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Technosnark
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