Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research puts a fresh spin on current thinking of speech evolution in humans

01.07.2005


A study published today in the prestigious journal Nature by Dr. Michael Petrides and colleagues at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) at McGill University, challenges current thinking that speech developed as a result of new structures that evolved in the human brain. Dr. Petrides and colleagues have identified a distinct brain region that controls jaw movements in macaque monkeys that is comparable to Broca’s area - the region in the human brain critical for speech production. This discovery is important as it suggests that this area of the brain evolved originally to perform high-order control over the mouth and the jaw, and that as humans evolved this area came to control the movements necessary for speech.



“Our study shows that nonlinguistic monkeys possess an area comparable to Broca’s area – it is located in the same region and has the same anatomical characteristics as Broca’s area in the human brain“, explained Dr. Michael Petrides, Coordinator of the Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at the MNI and Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University.

"The researchers performed quantitative microscopic analysis of the cytoarchitecture of the region of interest and electrophysiological stimulation and recording within this region.


When this area in the monkey was electrically stimulated, oral and facial motor responses were evoked – such as jaw movement sequences, as well as respiratory responses. In addition, Broca’s area is connected with a region of the brain immediately in front of it that is involved in the retrieval of information from memory.

“These connections suggest to us that Broca’s area is in a unique position to use information shared from past experience and which is stored in memory for the service of communicative acts,” explains Dr. Petrides. “That is, Broca’s area may have evolved originally as an area exercising high-level control over oral and facial actions, including those related to communicative acts, and that, in the human brain, this area eventually came to control also certain aspects of the speech act.“

The researchers hope that future studies of the anatomy and physiology of this region will yield major new insights as to why Broca’s area became involved with speech in the human brain.

This research was supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the James S. McDonnell Foundation.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s agency for health research. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to close to 10,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

The Montreal Neurological Institute (www.mni.mcgill.ca) is a McGill University research and teaching institute, dedicated to the study of the nervous system and neurological diseases. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, the MNI is one of the world’s largest institutes of its kind. MNI researchers are world leaders in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders. The MNI, with its clinical partner, the Montreal Neurological Hospital (MNH), part of the McGill University Health Centre, continues to integrate research, patient care and training, and is recognized as one of the premier neuroscience centres in the world. Already well known for its McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, the MNI will expand its brain imaging research in the next several years through a $28 million award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, made in partnership with the government of Quebec. There will also be further development of MNI initiatives in multiple sclerosis, optical imaging and nano-neuroscience.

Sandra McPherson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca
http://www.mcgill.ca
http://www.muhc.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>