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HISTORY

Stone Age humans already said “mama” and “dad” among other words

A study revealed that Homo sapiens were already saying things like “please” and “thank you” to communicate thousands of years ago.

Two million years ago, the hominids of Africa took a big step in evolution: they began to walk upright. They were very different from the humans we are today, but Homo habilis and Homo erectus started something that remains with us: language. They did not yet utter words, but Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Homo sapiens 400,000 years ago communicated through signs and sounds that were the beginnings of verbalization as a way to communicate.

In the Stone Age, a period from three million years ago to 40,000 years ago, Homo sapiens transmitted knowledge orally, especially techniques for building different tools. It is called the Stone Age, in fact, because our ancestors made their tools from stone.

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Early humans, the Homo sapiens who lived 200,000 years ago, had already evolved to be very similar to modern humans. And, since they already knew how to make tools, likely, they could also speak. Of course, there were fewer languages in the Stone Age than there are today, but people were already communicating with nouns and verbs. Even so, it was difficult to communicate with members of other tribes, as each had its own language, just as it is today in different territories.

The most common words in the Stone Age

Fewer words existed at that time because, as The Conversation points out, there were no such things as televisions, cars, or computers. However, they probably did have words to count objects and, above all, to refer to people such as “mom,” “dad,” “sister,” and “brother;” as well as animals and plants and other expressions such as “please” and “thank you,” in addition to proper names.

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Those prehistoric ancestors likely talked about topics similar to those we talk about now: what to eat, and who their friends and families are. They probably even sang songs together.

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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