Scientists say there are 15 million insect species, 2 million marine species, more millions of bird and animal species. Yet, only one- humans - developed language. If evolution is true - that species evolve continually higher and better - why haven't other species developed language?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. Your question has several issues. MINOR ISSUES: The title is too broad. "Scientists say" is a horrible way to start a sentence, you should have references for your claim. MAJOR ISSUE: The theory of evolution doesn't say that species evolve higher and better. What make you think that language is a goal, an achievement that all species should tend to? I am voting to close. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Oct 3 '15 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ If you take some time to learn a little bit about evolutionary biology, you will then be able to ask clear questions. Consider taking a few course on Understanding Evolution (or other good online ressource) $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Oct 3 '15 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ Define a language too, many species communicate with vocal signals and this can contain information just like our speech. Also voting to close, it's a terribly flawed question. $\endgroup$ – rg255 Oct 3 '15 at 17:40
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    $\begingroup$ "If evolution is true - that species evolve continually higher and better" That's not what evolution says. Not at all. And yes, many other species have developed their own languages. I can't believe this is news to you. $\endgroup$ – Stephan Branczyk Oct 4 '15 at 12:17

If evolution is true - that species evolve continually higher and better - why haven't other species developed language?

I'll discuss that question first, and then move on to what we know about languages in animals.

"Species evolve continually higher and better" is not what evolution actually postulates; there is no real sense of progress towards ever-smarter ever-better organisms; merely that the frequencies of genes in populations follow dynamics that is dependent on the relationships between the traits they are responsible for and the relationships between traits and the environment which further determine how many offspring a carrier of a given set of traits are likely to have.

Secondly, new traits don't pop out of nowhere; for a trait to appear in a population, let alone spread through a population, mutations that generate those traits must happen in the first place. That species don't evolve along some imagined ladder of progress has nothing to do with the veracity of evolution.

Coming to languages ; there are recorded instances of bonobos using modulations of their calls to communicate information; which is, simply put, language. Whales do it to a limited degree as well; communicating clan identity through ultrasound.

  • $\begingroup$ ants did have the advantage of language-type communications. The problem is ant language failed to evolve any further. why? $\endgroup$ – Shahid Orakzai Oct 4 '15 at 6:17
  • $\begingroup$ There are neural structures that regulate language; structures whose development is still regulated by genes, and the origins of novel structures requires mutations to happen first; mutations happening and spreading through populations is a matter of chance (mutations are stochastic processes). Even if hypothetically a trait would give a species a reproductive advantage, the mutations to produce that trait must happen first, and there is no guarantee they will (that is the whole point of evolution being stochastic, not deterministic) $\endgroup$ – Ankur Chakravarthy Oct 4 '15 at 15:06

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