The Guardian has an article about some 100,000 year old jewellery which was found in Israel back in the early 30s, although no one recognised the significance of the find.
“There is the implication that there was probably complex language there…”
I believe it’s been shown that earlier species of hominids had language, a capability which, you think, would have been part of our genetic inheritance from our ancestors. That is, Homo sapiens didn’t suddenly appear in Africa saying, “Ugh ugh eek ugh” one day; the next “Ugh eek ref ugh ugh blind”; and the third
“Happy birthday, darling.”
“What is it?”
“It’s a bikini. Go on. Try it on.”
“Perhaps on a special occasion.”
A few days later after everyone’s got bored with taking about metaphysics and existentialism.
“I haven’t seen that necklace before. And what happened to your bikini? You haven’t worn it yet.”
“Er, it was the wrong size, so I took it back to M&S and exchanged it for the necklace.”
And there you have all the proof you need that early Homo sapiens could speak. The dialogue also shows that Mr Sapiens had no idea what Mrs Sapiens might really like as a birthday present, although we may have proof that language still had to evolve a little. A few days earlier, they’d had this conversation:
“What would you like for your birthday?”
What she meant to say was “Surprise me with a necklace”, but in the language of the time, that was ungrammatical. Some scholars argue that she actually said, “Surprise me with a necklace”, but speech perception hadn’t properly evolved so that he heard, “Surprise me with a sexy fur bikini”.
Anyway, my hypothesis is that Homo sapiens has been talking fluently since day one and that there’s a seamless transition from whatever species of hominid preceded us.