Were the Neanderthals able to speak?

Recent scientific findings suggest Neanderthals possessed more intelligence than had previously been thought.

  Certain anatomical and mental prerequisites are needed for speech, such as a spine able to support the breathing muscles required. According to a recent study, this was the case with Homo erect us, who lived approximately 1.8 million years ago. Neanderthals lived only 120,000 to 45,000 years before our time.

         Among the mental prerequisites are an ability to imagine something not present and visible. This may be a hand-axe that needs to be crafted or the preparations for a hunt. If there are indications that are an early human species used burial rituals, we can be fairly sure they had language. When people bury their dead it is because they believe in a hereafter, and this can only be conveyed through language. However, a great deal of debate surrounds the question of whether Neanderthals buried their dead or not.

Rathnavath Ravinaik

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