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Mating dances and the evolution of language: What’s the next step?

Buckner, Cameron and Yang, Keyao (2017) Mating dances and the evolution of language: What’s the next step? Biology & Philosophy, 32 (6). pp. 1289-1316. ISSN 1572-8404

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Abstract

The Darwinian protolanguage hypothesis is one of the most popular theories of the evolution of human language. According to this hypothesis, language evolved through a three stage process involving general increases in intelligence, the emergence of grammatical structure as a result of sexual selection on protomusical songs, and finally the attachment of meaning to the components of those songs. The strongest evidence for the second stage of this process has been considered to be birdsong, and as a result researchers have investigated the existence of various forms of grammar in the production and comprehension of songs by birds. Here, we argue that mating dances are another relevant source of sexually-selected complexity that has until now been largely overlooked by proponents of Darwinian protolanguage, focusing especially on the dances of long-tailed manakins. We end by sketching several lines of research that should be pursued to determine the relevance of mating dances to the evolution of language.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Buckner, Cameroncjbuckner@uh.edu
Yang, KeyaoK2yang@ucsd.edu
Keywords: evolution language mating dances animal cognition grammar
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Comparative Psychology and Ethology
Depositing User: Dr. Cameron Buckner
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2019 11:57
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2019 11:57
Item ID: 16331
Journal or Publication Title: Biology & Philosophy
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10539-0...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-017-9605-z
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Comparative Psychology and Ethology
Date: 2017
Page Range: pp. 1289-1316
Volume: 32
Number: 6
ISSN: 1572-8404
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16331

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