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Groups, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language

  • R. I. M. Dunbar

Abstract

No one doubts that language is the single most important evolutionary development in our history as a species. So much flows from it in terms of our culture that it is difficult to imagine what a languageless human society would really be like. However, the very fact that language is so important in our daily lives raises questions about its function and origin. Just what does language do for us? Why did it evolve? And why did language evolve in our lineage but not in any of our sibling species such as chimpanzees?

Keywords

Group Size Brain Size Speech Sound Social Grooming Ambient Noise Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. I. M. Dunbar
    • 1
  1. 1.ESRC Research Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution Department of PsychologyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolEngland

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