Did Neanderthals and other early humans sing? Seeking the biological roots of music in the territorial advertisements of primates, lions, hyenas, and wolves
Hagen, E. H. and Hammerstein, P. (2009). Did Neanderthals and other early humans sing? Seeking the biological roots of music in the territorial advertisements of primates, lions, hyenas, and wolves. Musicae Scientiae, Special issue 2009-2010, 291-320.
Group defence of territories is found in many gregarious mammalian carnivores, including lions, canids, and hyenas. In these taxa, group members often mark territory boundaries and direct aggressive behaviour towards alien conspecifics found within the territory (Boydston et al., 2001). Middle Pleistocene hominids such as Neanderthals occupied an ecological niche similar to such large carnivores (Stiner, 2002), and so could be expected to share with them a suite of behavioural traits. Complex, coordinated vocalizations that function, at least in part, to advertise the group defence of a territory is one behavioural trait exhibited by several social carnivores, as well as many other gregarious animals, including primates. Hagen and Bryant (2003) proposed that the evolution of human music and dance was rooted in such coordinated auditory and visual territorial advertisements, an hypothesis we develop and expand upon here. Human proto-music, in essence, might have been functionally analogous to the howling of wolves. ...