Tag Archives: Lennard Davis

On Language, Evolution and Disability: Is the Smithsonian Ableist?

1) Based on what we now know about human language, the above panel displayed in the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibit on human evolution is almost certainly incorrect.

2) Specifically, the claim that language was “enabled” by a reconfiguration of the vocal tract misconstrues the locus of evolution of language. This occurred not in the throat, mouth, lips and tongue, the articulatory organs through which spoken language is characteristically realized, but in the brain.

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