A new study of geladas – a species of monkey living in the highlands of Ethiopia – has revealed that their long and complex vocal sequences follow a pattern seen in many human languages: the longer the overall sequence, the shorter are the sounds within it. This work not only reveals similarities between our communication system and that of our primate relatives, it may also shed new light on the fundamental organisation of diverse biological systems.
This bolsters the theory of evolution and furthers the idea that human language likely had one common ancestor. What may be more interesting than the
credulity credence this research gives to evolution in general is the link to linguistic evolution in that each stage of linguistic change requires the integration of a phonological or grammatical feature and often both simultaneously.