Synopsis

Could Neanderthals speak? Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany—the same team that sequenced large portions of the Neanderthal genome last November—have uncovered a clue. After sequencing the DNA of a Neanderthal bone freshly excavated from a Spanish cave, the scientists found that the code for a gene implicated in speech, FOXP2, is identical in Neanderthals and humans. While many genes play a part in language capabilities, FOXP2 is the only one scientists have identified thus far.