What Did the Voice of Neanderthals, Our Distant Cousins, Sound Like?: Scientists Demonstrate Their “High Pitch” Theory

Schol­ars have made informed, edu­cat­ed guess­es at what Shake­speare sound­ed like in the orig­i­nal pro­nun­ci­a­tion. The same applies to what Old Norse sound­ed like from the 9th through the 13th cen­turies. And even to Beowulf read in Old Eng­lishHome­r’s Odyssey read in the orig­i­nal Ancient Greek, and The Epic of Gil­gamesh read in Akka­di­an.

But could we push back much fur­ther in time? How about 40,000 years into deep his­to­ry when our close cousins, the Nean­derthals, pop­u­lat­ed the plan­et?

Above, you can watch a seg­ment of a BBC doc­u­men­tary, Nean­derthal: The Rebirth, where a team of sci­en­tists “exam­ine the first full skele­ton of a nean­derthal ever to be dis­cov­ered and uncov­er insights into the most like­ly sound our prim­i­tive cousins would have made.” Anatomists, bio­met­ric spe­cial­ists, pale­oan­thro­pol­o­gists, and vocal experts–they all worked togeth­er to ana­lyze the Nean­derthal’s vocal appa­ra­tus and came to this con­clu­sion: Homo nean­derthalen­sis like­ly had a sur­pris­ing­ly high-pitched voice (the orig­i­nal High Pitch). It’s on dis­play above.

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via Atlas Obscu­ra

Relat­ed Con­tent:

What Ancient Greek Music Sound­ed Like: Hear a Recon­struc­tion That is ‘100% Accu­rate’

Hear What Shake­speare Sound­ed Like in the Orig­i­nal Pro­nun­ci­a­tion

Learn What Old Norse Sound­ed Like, with UC Berkeley’s “Cow­boy Pro­fes­sor, Dr. Jack­son Craw­ford

Hear What Homer’s Odyssey Sound­ed Like When Sung in the Orig­i­nal Ancient Greek

Hear Beowulf Read In the Orig­i­nal Old Eng­lish: How Many Words Do You Rec­og­nize?

Hear The Epic of Gil­gamesh Read in the Orig­i­nal Akka­di­an and Enjoy the Sounds of Mesopotamia

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.