chapter  7
24 Pages

The "Postural Origins" Theory of Primate Neurobiological Asymmetries

ByPeter F. MacNeilage

Until very recently, there has been no doubt in the minds of most people that cerebral hemispheric specializations, associated with both handedness and language, first evolved in humans. This conclusion is a comforting one for the vast majority of people, as it fits their anthropocentric view of humankind. The supposedly emergent handedness specialization often is linked to the evolution of tool construction and use, and the fact that natural language is confined to humans makes it seem reasonable that its associated neural specialization also should be confined to humans. But regardless of how this view fits with human predilections, it is becoming clear that it must be replaced with a radically different one. It looks as if other animals once again are going to mess up our tidy, self-centered view of the world (Fuller, 1949).