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      Self-generated sounds of locomotion and ventilation and the evolution of human rhythmic abilities

      review-article
      Animal Cognition
      Springer Berlin Heidelberg
      The origins of music, Vocal learning, Primate, Entrainment, Auditory masking, Collective behavior

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          Abstract

          It has been suggested that the basic building blocks of music mimic sounds of moving humans, and because the brain was primed to exploit such sounds, they eventually became incorporated in human culture. However, that raises further questions. Why do genetically close, culturally well-developed apes lack musical abilities? Did our switch to bipedalism influence the origins of music? Four hypotheses are raised: (1) Human locomotion and ventilation can mask critical sounds in the environment. (2) Synchronization of locomotion reduces that problem. (3) Predictable sounds of locomotion may stimulate the evolution of synchronized behavior. (4) Bipedal gait and the associated sounds of locomotion influenced the evolution of human rhythmic abilities. Theoretical models and research data suggest that noise of locomotion and ventilation may mask critical auditory information. People often synchronize steps subconsciously. Human locomotion is likely to produce more predictable sounds than those of non-human primates. Predictable locomotion sounds may have improved our capacity of entrainment to external rhythms and to feel the beat in music. A sense of rhythm could aid the brain in distinguishing among sounds arising from discrete sources and also help individuals to synchronize their movements with one another. Synchronization of group movement may improve perception by providing periods of relative silence and by facilitating auditory processing. The adaptive value of such skills to early ancestors may have been keener detection of prey or stalkers and enhanced communication. Bipedal walking may have influenced the development of entrainment in humans and thereby the evolution of rhythmic abilities.

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          Most cited references134

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              Did warfare among ancestral hunter-gatherers affect the evolution of human social behaviors?

              Since Darwin, intergroup hostilities have figured prominently in explanations of the evolution of human social behavior. Yet whether ancestral humans were largely "peaceful" or "warlike" remains controversial. I ask a more precise question: If more cooperative groups were more likely to prevail in conflicts with other groups, was the level of intergroup violence sufficient to influence the evolution of human social behavior? Using a model of the evolutionary impact of between-group competition and a new data set that combines archaeological evidence on causes of death during the Late Pleistocene and early Holocene with ethnographic and historical reports on hunter-gatherer populations, I find that the estimated level of mortality in intergroup conflicts would have had substantial effects, allowing the proliferation of group-beneficial behaviors that were quite costly to the individual altruist.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                +46-19-6025596 , +46-19-186526 , larsson.matz@gmail.com , matz.larsson@orebroll.se
                Journal
                Anim Cogn
                Anim Cogn
                Animal Cognition
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                1435-9448
                1435-9456
                30 August 2013
                30 August 2013
                2014
                : 17
                : 1-14
                Affiliations
                [ ]The Cardiology Clinic, Örebro University Hospital, 701 85 Örebro, Sweden
                [ ]The Respiratory Clinic, Örebro University Hospital, 701 85 Örebro, Sweden
                [ ]Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
                Article
                678
                10.1007/s10071-013-0678-z
                3889703
                23990063
                ab887a13-557d-4434-bdb2-f873268e3282
                © The Author(s) 2013

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

                Categories
                Review
                Custom metadata
                © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

                Animal science & Zoology
                primate,entrainment,auditory masking,collective behavior,the origins of music,vocal learning

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