Illustration for article titled New Report Finds It Took Humans 3,000 Years After Developing Language To Work Up Confidence To Talk To Each Other

NEW YORK—Shedding new light on the origin of interpersonal communication, a report released Friday by anthropologists at New York University found that it took humans 3,000 years after developing language to work up the confidence to talk to each other. “We now believe that, after evolving the capacity for speech some 100,000 years ago, homo sapiens were likely to have spent three additional millennia summoning the courage to actually approach one another and say ‘hi,’” said lead researcher Jack Frances, explaining that early humans apparently spent that period developing cognitive structures that allowed them to overcome their fear of embarrassing themselves and to devise conversation-starters that didn’t sound completely stupid. “And even when we’d begun speaking to each other, we seem to have spent an additional four or five millennia chatting only for a minute before suddenly getting it in our heads that it wasn’t going well and abruptly excusing ourselves.” Frances went on to say it was actually possible that speech between humans would one day be selected out of our species unless it proved to be something other than totally humiliating.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter