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Human language is thought to emerge around 100,000 years ago as an abstract symbolic system. It is very likely that humans spoke long before it they wrote. Because the nature of language is largely spoken, it has been hard to find physical evidence of when and how humans began speaking…  Some argue early evidence of language can be found in objects like beads or altered bone.

A horse and arrows found painted on the ceiling of Lascaux Cave in Dordogna, France PHOTOGRAPH BY ALINARI ARCHIVES, GETTY

A horse and arrows found painted on the ceiling of Lascaux Cave in Dordogna, France PHOTOGRAPH BY ALINARI ARCHIVES, GETTY

Cora Lesure, a linguist at MIT, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, a paper that suggests that the cognitive functions needed creat pictures are the same cognitive functions needed in language. Their study looked at Blombos Cave in South Africa, which contains geometric engravings and the markings, they suggest, are external representations of internalized thought.

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