Talking Brains

A screen displaying a digital image of a brain is juxtaposed next to a panel showing a collage of different faces. © Tino Gil
There are more than 6,000 human languages. But language is also a single thing: all humans have it, and it's a shared property that unites us, rooted in a species-specific brain.

Touring in partnership with the "La Caixa" Foundation, Talking Brains aims to exhibit our brain from the point of view of its linguistic functions: a scientific approach to language that stresses its psychological and biological constitution and its indissoluble link with neuroscience, genetics, anatomy, or human evolution.

Visitors can explore interactive exhibits that look at linguistic diversity, the evolution of language and the brain, and how we learn language.


  • Interact with reproductions of fossils to learn more about the evolution of the linguistic brain – how our ancestors behaved, what they could do, and how they changed overtime.
  • Enter a space representing the womb to understand how humans begin acquiring language functions even before birth.
  • Take part in a virtual reality experience that explains more about brain and language growth, their architectures, and how they relate to each other.
  • Examine a case study demonstrating how delays in language development can have profound effects on individuals.

Key Questions

  • What can we learn about human language by looking at the anatomy and structure of the brain?
  • When does a child start learning language?
  • What can the fossil record tell us, if anything, about how language emerged and evolved in humans?
  • What can the rich and appealing variety of animal communication systems teach us about our own language?

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The American Museum of Natural History, New York ( is touring Talking Brains in partnership with the “La Caixa” Foundation.