Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Language and life history: Not a new perspective

Sonia Ragir a1 and Patricia J. Brooks a2
a1 Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Staten Island, City University of New York, and American Museum of Natural History, Staten Island, NY 10314;
a2 Department of Psychology, College of Staten Island and Graduate Center, City University of New York, Staten Island, NY 10314.

Article author query
ragir s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
brooks pj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The uniqueness of human cognition and language has long been linked to systematic changes in developmental timing. Selection for postnatal skeletal ossification resulted in progressive prolongation of universal patterns of primate growth, lengthening infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Language emerged as communication increased in complexity within and between communities rather than from selection for some unique features of childhood or adolescence, or both.