Stephen Mithen: The Neanderthals—there’s no evidence that they had language. But they must have had a sophisticated form of communication. They were just like humans, they might would have had to have told other people how they’re feeling, they would have had to look after their children and nurture them. They had to have made plans for group hunting and general movement. So what sort of communications system did they have? Now I came to the conclusion which must have been based on high degrees of musicality. Because we can see traces of that in our nearest living relatives. This seems to be the only form of communication with that language that would have been complex to allow them to have function as a social group, and yet not gone that extra step to modern language. So I think they communicated by using sets of phrases, almost like musical phrases that would have had semantic meanings, phrases such as something that would translate into “Let us share meat,” “We’ll go hunting” or “How are you feeling?” but would have been expressed in musical tones, different types of pitches, different types of rhythms. They might have used these also to build a sense of group identity, very much how we use music today, especially for caring for infants, you know just like we do today with our youngest children before they got language, we sing to them and move them rhythmically. I’m sure the Neanderthals would have been doing exactly the same.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.