- The Loom
From Genes to Words
Science is so specialized these days that it’s hard for scientists to look up beyond the very narrow confines of their own work. Biologists who study cartilage don’t have much to say to biologists who study retinas. Astronomers who study globular clusters probably can’t tell you what’s new with planetary disks. But sometimes scientists from different specialties can come together and integrate their work into something truly impressive. A case in point comes from some ongoing research into the evolution of language.
No species aside from our own can use language. Chimpanzees and other primates can communicate, but they can’t make the subtle sounds that humans can, nor can they turn those sounds into words organized into meaningful sentences. Something happened–or,