When We First Talked

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Ciencia y tecnología

The evolution of our ability to speak is its own epic saga and it’s worth pausing to appreciate that. It’s taken several million years to get to this moment where we can tell you about how it took several million years for us to get here.
Thanks to these illustrators for their wonderful illustrations featured throughout this episode!
Julio Lacerda: JulioTheArtist
Fabrizio de Rossi: ArtofFabricious/
Franz Anthony: franzanth.com/
Jack Byrley: bedupolker
Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: estitle.info
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References: docs.google.com/document/d/1DAjJ_ni_4y2nZnXfpmrt5KvddrJK-9q3PqDAs6-VDBk/edit?usp=sharing


  1. Ikua Muita
    Ikua Muita
    Hace 18 horas

    Caption for 10:18 "Our species is going extinct, but we are being integrated into homo sapien society, *I see this as an absolute win* "

  2. nachox supreme
    nachox supreme
    Hace 23 horas

    I just came here to read the comments

  3. Dave Perryman
    Dave Perryman
    Hace un día

    I disagree

  4. Lili Jaryn
    Lili Jaryn
    Hace un día

    Now do the time we first walked (but I’m still waiting for that placenta episode, Blake)

  5. ammata thammavongsa
    ammata thammavongsa
    Hace un día

    The loose handball biomechanically tick because snowplow immunohistologically present lest a wide cuticle. parallel, overconfident experience

  6. Carrick McCain
    Carrick McCain
    Hace un día

    Of course they talked. They painted part of their stories on cave wall. The rest had to be spoken.

  7. Resource Pack
    Resource Pack
    Hace un día

    Ah... the good old days

  8. guydreamr
    Hace 3 días

    1:01: that is one hot hominin.

  9. Universal Soldier
    Universal Soldier
    Hace 3 días

    I'd love to know when we started naming ourselves.

  10. Lukas M
    Lukas M
    Hace 3 días

    2:53 ahhhhhhahhhhahhhahahhhahhahahahhahahahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Hace 3 días

    Imagine Freddie Mercury (Farokh Bulsara) living in these times

  12. サニャSanny
    Hace 3 días

    Makes sense, since neanderthals are considered to be subspecies of homo sapiens

  13. Jamillennium Puzzle
    Jamillennium Puzzle
    Hace 3 días

    That trex joke though 🤣

  14. The kid next door 2020
    The kid next door 2020
    Hace 3 días

    Don’t know why I’m watching this at 1am but ok

  15. Alex Bowman
    Alex Bowman
    Hace 4 días

    Give any species human type hands and intelligence will rapidly evolve.

  16. Andrew Sims
    Andrew Sims
    Hace 4 días

    What happened to Steve

  17. bananian
    Hace 4 días

    The first word humans said: *wasssaap!*

  18. bananian
    Hace 4 días

    I wonder if they used sign languages at all

  19. LQ Plum
    LQ Plum
    Hace 4 días

    I’m a speech/language pathologist. Loved this !!!

  20. MugTheBoss
    Hace 4 días

    so basically, to current knowledge, spaniards may have been the first fully-fledged language speakers, doesn't suprise me.

  21. cblazer
    Hace 5 días

    4:35 is it weird that I think he's cute?

  22. Lo Bello
    Lo Bello
    Hace 5 días

    We are not evolved from chimpanzees, they've been around as long or longer then us and are still animals in the jungle using sticks and throwing poop

    1. John Thumble
      John Thumble
      Hace 4 días

      Lol silly creatard

  23. Dr Ashok Kumar
    Dr Ashok Kumar
    Hace 5 días

    EXCELLENT talk . But , it is compressed . Materials presented need elaboration in 30 - 40 minute long lecture . Please , also provide a list of suggested readings .

  24. Navya vardhan
    Navya vardhan
    Hace 5 días

    Hindu are the oldest civilization that's mean we first started talking

  25. playersame
    Hace 5 días

    Human bad, monke best

  26. FlyingRazzo
    Hace 5 días

    2:00 it's obviously saying "what do you want?!"

  27. VIP
    Hace 6 días

    I love my WI FI 💗😜

  28. Marc Tremblay
    Marc Tremblay
    Hace 7 días

    Really? This is your imagination, but it didn’t happened this way. You “don’t know exactly” as you said.

  29. Studa Baker
    Studa Baker
    Hace 7 días

    And language is constantly evolving. Just a few hundred years ago, English would be unrecognizable to us today.

  30. Appleblade
    Hace 7 días

    No mention of the water monkey theory? Prerequisite for speech is voluntary breath control. Adapting to exploit underwater food sources would provide that. Previous PBS Eon's vid noted catfish remains in 2 million year old human ancestor site. (Might be embarrassing if noodling made us human ;) Who doesn't love swimming? Shout out to Elaine Morgan (RIP)!

  31. Agimaso Schandir
    Agimaso Schandir
    Hace 7 días

    Interesting that many of the comments are using psuedo-English cave speech "unga bunga" and not a more realistic clicks, pops and whistles

  32. Lance
    Hace 8 días

    When we first talked the Garden of Eden

    1. John Thumble
      John Thumble
      Hace 4 días

      Lol silly creatard

  33. Ethan Fleming
    Ethan Fleming
    Hace 8 días

    So do Americans from Brooklyn and Jersey have a smaller area for creating vowels

  34. fugithegreat
    Hace 8 días

    I just want to thank this and other educational channels for teaching me more about this. When I was a kid, none of human evolutionary history was ever mentioned in school, apart from a flippant incredulous remark that humans were thought to be descended from monkeys. When I was able to start studying this stuff on my own with the advent of the internet, it has been fascinating to delve deeper into our prehistory.

  35. Mohamad Fawwaz
    Mohamad Fawwaz
    Hace 8 días

    And than swear words

  36. Eric Koch
    Eric Koch
    Hace 8 días

    So Glad to hear of the results of all the recent work....it didn't have to be set to a tangle to cover previously inaccurate conclusions...science is about observation, but it is also about speculation and thought, and re-observing if new observations give a need for a second look....now we can all see Neanderthal was capable of both human speech and human hearing....

  37. Oghenekome Ologho-Whiskey
    Oghenekome Ologho-Whiskey
    Hace 9 días

    She looks like my daughter's child

  38. Robert Hardesty
    Robert Hardesty
    Hace 9 días


    1. Alpha e
      Alpha e
      Hace 8 días


  39. J Chr G
    J Chr G
    Hace 10 días

    YoU me, we all have the proportion of our vocal tract and some type of venturi valve in our neck, why do you think predatory animals mostly or maybe even always aim for a bite in the neck, it's probably not only for the aorta but also something that predatory animals or predatory humans sense in that or from that vocal tract... May the night be for such type of animals and the day time for the other type of animals Has any one done research on how much vocal matter one human can leave behind in the atmosphere over ones life span?

  40. NotTreblinka
    Hace 10 días

    1:58 Hey buddy, do this

  41. Experiem2 Prime
    Experiem2 Prime
    Hace 11 días

    The first human sound made using vocal folds was probably "bark"

  42. Eric M
    Eric M
    Hace 11 días

    Have you noticed something about the depiction of prehistoric humans? They are all men. There are no womens.

    1. Soft Maps
      Soft Maps
      Hace 8 días

      There's plenty of women depictions of pre-humans, but it's usually not rated PG due to Americans crying whenever they see a woman's beasts.

  43. neomt2
    Hace 11 días

    What about languages using clicks like in African languages? No vocals required

    1. Fundamental Fanatic
      Fundamental Fanatic
      Hace 9 días

      its not solely clicks.

  44. Lucrezia Cenzatti
    Lucrezia Cenzatti
    Hace 11 días

    Dear PBS Eons, can I ask why when you show stock images of ancient humans in your videos, they are always, always men? Were there no females in prehistory? Or do women have been erased also from the fossil records? It is disheartening to see that it is 2021, and still when we create art about the past, it's just about men, as though 50% of the population doesn't deserve even to be mentioned.

    1. Soft Maps
      Soft Maps
      Hace 8 días

      Blame Americans for throwing a fit whenever they see a woman's beast on TV. They probably can't show it due to puritanical babies in the audience.

  45. Jessie Blancad
    Jessie Blancad
    Hace 11 días

    I dont know about all of you but i first talk when am 1 years old under the table thats what my parents said😁😁😑 Dont take it seriously 😑😑🙏

  46. Ocha Hastur
    Ocha Hastur
    Hace 11 días

    Ooga Booga

  47. fumanchu168
    Hace 11 días

    Oooogaaa booogaaa

  48. ckl
    Hace 12 días

    As far as how language is defined, it is any set of communication signals who's meaning is agreed upon by all parties involved, it need not be vocal but that is among the most convenient. There is also a political definition where a language is a dialect with a flag, territory, and an army.

  49. Brook Barbour
    Brook Barbour
    Hace 12 días

    Ive seen "humans" that still look like tht

    1. Alpha e
      Alpha e
      Hace 8 días

      @Soft Maps doesnae answer my question la

    2. Soft Maps
      Soft Maps
      Hace 8 días

      @Alpha e anti-maskers lol

    3. Alpha e
      Alpha e
      Hace 8 días

      like what

  50. AuroraBorealis
    Hace 12 días

    Growing up I went to a Jewish day school. Evolution was never talked about and I never thought about it. In college I took a physical anthropology class and fell in love. Thank you for this channel! It has taught me so much. I’ve learned to balance religion and evolution in a way that I feel comfortable partly because of this channel❤️

  51. Ted thesailor
    Ted thesailor
    Hace 12 días

    "Bud - weis - er...

  52. William Martínez
    William Martínez
    Hace 12 días

    Why say lot word when few word do trick?

  53. Bruh
    Hace 12 días

    "ooga booga?"

  54. Ravi Ydv
    Ravi Ydv
    Hace 12 días

    When men learned to cheat their gf??

  55. unclesmrgol dragon
    unclesmrgol dragon
    Hace 12 días

    Not necessarily true about consonantal sounds. Cats respond much better to high frequency sounds, which is why you need to choose cat names which end in a consonant.

  56. Mike G
    Mike G
    Hace 13 días

    Speaking of speech... 'The way you look is 90% of what you say' Being dressed in a t-shirt & jeans makes anything you say far less meaningful. I actually had to check to see if it really was PBS and not some random EStitler with a camera phone.

    1. Alpha e
      Alpha e
      Hace 8 días

      oh pipe down😹

  57. Curtis Densmore
    Curtis Densmore
    Hace 13 días

    It's not clear which vowel sounds you were talking about. You should make the sounds instead of saying the letters since letters represent many sounds.

  58. ben potter
    ben potter
    Hace 13 días

    It honestly looks like my step-dad kenny hicks and his buddies at the local race track in tennessee lol.

  59. Natural Sounds of Gaia
    Natural Sounds of Gaia
    Hace 13 días

    How people used to sound?

  60. Korra
    Hace 13 días

    I think like that when we were a kid we create meaningless words for someone or animal I guess all started like that.

    1. Soft Maps
      Soft Maps
      Hace 8 días

      We instinctually create language if we feel misunderstood, small children probably feel misunderstood all the time.

  61. jeeves1947
    Hace 13 días

    If you have the gift of speech there is no need for all your affected sign language is there,keep your bloody hands still & save energy

  62. Liam Healy
    Liam Healy
    Hace 13 días

    First words uttered by human descendants: "Ooo, eee, ooo, aaa, aaa... ...ting, tang, walla, walla, bing, bang"

    1. Universal Soldier
      Universal Soldier
      Hace 3 días

      That's my favorite song!

    2. Jonathan Ryan
      Jonathan Ryan
      Hace 10 días

      "...Dow Dow Dow Dow..."

  63. 有女同車
    Hace 13 días

    They're not ay eye ewe. The letters enclosed in slashes are called IPA. /a/ /i/ /u/, the most common vowels of all human languages, are supposed to be pronounced as AAH EE OO.

  64. Ge0 Arc
    Ge0 Arc
    Hace 13 días

    CHUCK NORRIS'S Taught the Very First Humans how to TALK! Fossil are just the one's who Couldn't Get it! They died of SHAME not being able to copy CHUCK!

  65. Dwight st. john
    Dwight st. john
    Hace 14 días

    Navy hearing tests noted I was extreme at the high end at 19, basically off the charts. Twenty years later my son in his high chair would announce "daddy's coming home" when my diesel was a block away. The wife heard nothing.

  66. Andrew A
    Andrew A
    Hace 14 días

    Title more interesting than the video

  67. crazycatlady39
    Hace 14 días

    Storytelling: Saying "I saw a (Fill in the blank) and it was thiiisssss big!!!" With your arms stretched out wide to your buddies. "And I almost caught it too!!" Lol!

  68. Mike P
    Mike P
    Hace 14 días

    Preventing speech is the worst thing of our modern culture.

  69. Andrew Shay
    Andrew Shay
    Hace 14 días

    I’m in love 🥰 with the host.

  70. Bismuth Crystal
    Bismuth Crystal
    Hace 14 días

    "Speech itself doesn't fossilize." "That's so not groovy of it. Unrad. What a square. I doth declare."

    1. Bismuth Crystal
      Bismuth Crystal
      Hace 13 días

      @Bernard Taylor If i were to express the train of thought i was sent on from my throwaway comment and your reply to it, i feel i'd be in danger of having my linguistic anthropology degree revoked, especially when i got to the bit about how fossils are as ephemeral as ironic retro fashion. So, yeah, i suppose i agree.

    2. Bernard Taylor
      Bernard Taylor
      Hace 14 días

      The closest to fossilised speech would be the recordings that have been made over the years

  71. Jaded Mist
    Jaded Mist
    Hace 14 días

    Thank you so much! Jean Aule ruined me for things I like to listen and watch. I'm so obsessed with paleo people and other ancestors that when anything new comes out im on it.

  72. Wollin Vingt
    Wollin Vingt
    Hace 14 días

    Sorry but [a], [i] and [u] don't sound at all like English vowels A, I and U, which are diphtongs, and in Latin would rather be EI, AI, IU. The Spanish or Italian pronunciation of these vowels gives you by far a better understanding. Anyway, excellent video, as always.

  73. Jeffrey Zablotsky
    Jeffrey Zablotsky
    Hace 14 días

    😷Storytelling 😎the oldest profession in the world😉

  74. Anna Rowe
    Anna Rowe
    Hace 14 días

    What happened to steve!? :(

  75. Sarah Lessard
    Sarah Lessard
    Hace 14 días

    I would love to hear the human evolution of singing and history of the first human instruments! Like if you agree!

  76. Jonathan Brunner
    Jonathan Brunner
    Hace 14 días

    *When we first spoke*

  77. beverlyhills
    Hace 14 días

    The background music is weird

  78. Combrogîs
    Hace 14 días

    I thought there was some evidence of Neanderthals sailing, navigating and boat building which would most likely only be possible through speech. Could well be wrong about that though.

  79. Steven Baumann
    Steven Baumann
    Hace 14 días

    I love this episode! Well done! Didn’t the thickness of the spine have something to do with speech? Our spines are 3xs thicker than apes. At least I think I read that somewhere.

  80. pen art
    pen art
    Hace 14 días

    If they communicated doesn't that mean they used a language of some sort?

  81. Mikeztarp
    Hace 14 días

    5:09 Careful: the sounds are not the letters their IPA symbols look like. The graphic says "/a/ /i/ /u/" but what you said was "/ei/ /ai/ and /ju:/".

  82. Joe Weis
    Joe Weis
    Hace 14 días


  83. Marcus Abston
    Marcus Abston
    Hace 15 días

    I like how she says probably... a huge issue with when we talk about human evolution is bias and wording making it seem like we know for certain that this came from that. In short we underestimate the capabilities of early humans we are unique to other hominids for good reason.

  84. skanecmt
    Hace 15 días

    I'm curious... \a\ \i\ \u\ sounds... are they referring to the Latin pure vowels: \ah\ \ee\ \oo\?

  85. My last 4 Brain cells
    My last 4 Brain cells
    Hace 15 días

    I know this is random but do you know someone who is a ginger and you want to mess with them as a red head I’m giving everybody free ginger passes you may now make fun of gingers

  86. ShenZai_2006
    Hace 15 días

    Monkey's are my Mutuals. we are related non rivals my kind amen brother.

    1. Pavle Kovacevic
      Pavle Kovacevic
      Hace 10 días


  87. Just Smashing
    Just Smashing
    Hace 15 días

    60,000 years ago we built oceangoing vessels and colonised Australia in large communities...I think we could chat...duh

  88. Smokey Crow
    Smokey Crow
    Hace 15 días

    I was just thinking about this topic during my shower today lol!

  89. David G.
    David G.
    Hace 15 días

    Did Neanderthals have beards?

  90. Shane Rooney
    Shane Rooney
    Hace 15 días

    neanderthal the 'h' is silent.... apparently

  91. Dennis Kogl
    Dennis Kogl
    Hace 15 días

    It's sad that since scientists are human, they are subject to some of the same foibles that the average man is subject to. For instance, closing your mind to new evidence that does not fit the "common" understanding of the fossil record. They will fight tooth and nail to prevent the Theory that an advanced civilization existed in North America prior to 12,800 years ago when floods caused by the melting Ice Sheet wiped out those remains. There is plenty of evidence to support the catastrophic end of the glaciation, and although Native Tribes have in their spoken record of "history" the existence of "god-like people", we haven't found much in the way of remains of that time. Some claim the Sphinx in Egypt may harken back to that timeline as an example that doesn't fit with current "Egyptologists". They get super angry that another researcher would have the temerity to challenge their life's work! They have forgotten what they should have learned in school. And schools are partly to blame. They are supposed to teach people how to think and reason and be open to new ideas that have merit. We get trapped in thinking we are smarter than we are.

  92. Angel Vazquez
    Angel Vazquez
    Hace 15 días

    Imagine a shy caveman.

  93. James Czoch
    James Czoch
    Hace 15 días

    First words were, " Can we talk about your car's warranty?"

  94. Lord garbage
    Lord garbage
    Hace 15 días

    If this interests you, check out Terrence McKenna and the "stoned ape theory" I'm not saying it's the absolute truth but its extremely interesting stuff if you're interested in evolution, biology, psychology and even psychedelics and how they play into our evolution and language.

  95. James van der Hoorn
    James van der Hoorn
    Hace 15 días

    The thing about having inadequate vocal tracts I find a bit dubious. Surely, if a human language develops among deaf people, I don't see why having a chimp larynx would stop hominids from speaking.

  96. Praise I AM
    Praise I AM
    Hace 15 días

    This is horse 💩

  97. Jakoporeeno
    Hace 15 días

    Who else was trying to touch their neck to see if they could find the hyoid?

  98. Pluto Pedia
    Pluto Pedia
    Hace 15 días

    Still hard to believe Evolution gave us these abilities. What happened to pre human species

  99. Tiger Lily
    Tiger Lily
    Hace 15 días

    We first learned how to talk back when we first existed. Now for how we talk today that came about after we learned to mimic all other forms of speech brought by every living creature.

  100. Lethgar Smith
    Lethgar Smith
    Hace 15 días

    I have a theory that our dreams is what compelled early man to speak to each other. Think about it. A dream is the one thing primitive Man could not experience collectively. Every other aspect of their lives were shared experiences. Hunting, the environment, etc. all things that each member of the group would be aware of without having to talk and explain it. A dream is a unique experience that may include events that would be entirely unique qand impossible for another person to intuitively understand.