No wonder our ancestors drove them to extinction!
March 16, 2015 2:19 PM   Subscribe

 
Neighbourly suspicions confirmed.
posted by not the fingers, not the fingers at 2:24 PM on March 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


I love that she starts with "Eliot, let's try male human voice"

what is Eliot

where did find this organism she calls Eliot
posted by Greg Nog at 2:24 PM on March 16, 2015 [41 favorites]


If Elliot is accurately reproducing the sounds of a Neanderthal, I suddenly have a theory as to why our ancestors wiped them out.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:27 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


If Neanderthals really had "fantastic chests," we probably killed them out of jealousy, no matter how silly their voices. I'm sure the proto-human species with amazing calves and superb glutes fared equally poorly.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:30 PM on March 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


"What exactly is Elliot's area of expertise?"
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:30 PM on March 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


Also, excellent use of the bobcatgoldthwait tag.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:32 PM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


If Neanderthals really had "fantastic chests," we probably killed them out of jealousy, no matter how silly their voices. I'm sure the proto-human species with amazing calves and superb glutes fared equally poorly.

I'm silently winking at the camera and making a "shh" face with my index finger in front of my lips for the benefit of the audience
posted by Greg Nog at 2:32 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Elliot looks increasingly alarmed at each request.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:32 PM on March 16, 2015 [20 favorites]


I still refuse to accept that this isn't some kind of look around you tim and eric type troll.
posted by emptythought at 2:32 PM on March 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


+1 for the bobcatgoldthwait tag.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:34 PM on March 16, 2015


She has another theory.
posted by yhbc at 2:38 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nevermind, ricochet biscuit beat me to it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:38 PM on March 16, 2015


It's astonishing how much the baseline sound produced by your average Neanderthal as an immutable quality of his voicebox resembles the squawk of an insulted parrot.
posted by sciatrix at 2:44 PM on March 16, 2015


LOL at Elliot updating his resume and interviewing after this. "Well, you might have seen some of my work. No? //puffs out chest, lowers chin// EEONE TYEEEEOOOO THREEEEE??? Ring a bell? No. Right. Yeah it was just this one thing. So, hear from you in about a week, then?"
posted by resurrexit at 2:46 PM on March 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


You know, wiping out isn't the only thing our ancestors did with them. This video makes the second thing seem really, really unpleasant.
posted by gurple at 2:47 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Elliot looks increasingly alarmed at each request

You'd be alarmed too if you were asked to make scary sounds with a squeaky voice, and act like you had a thick skull and phenomenal chest when you haven't - and all that on Youtube.
posted by Namlit at 2:47 PM on March 16, 2015


Gilbert Gottfried.
posted by resurrexit at 2:48 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


where did find this organism she calls Eliot

There was a documentary made about this in the 90's.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:55 PM on March 16, 2015


Close your eyes and listen to this historically accurate rendition of a fearsome battle between Neandethals.
posted by echo target at 2:59 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


wiping out isn't the only thing our ancestors did with them.

In which case the bash-on-head-drag-to-cave model makes a little more sense.
posted by resurrexit at 3:03 PM on March 16, 2015


gurple: "You know, wiping out isn't the only thing our ancestors did with them. This video makes the second thing seem really, really unpleasant."

Coincidentally my wife and I got our results back from 23andme recently. Turns out that I have 2.8% Neanderthal DNA. My wife has a full 3%!

Luckily neither of us sounds like this at all.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:09 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


sam kinnison
posted by pyramid termite at 3:13 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Scientist (offscreen, stifling laughter): Now tell 'em they had feathers!!
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:16 PM on March 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


I wonder a) what that would have sounded like inside their heads, and b) would they have made good opera singers.

I also have the 'Thal DNA, Hairy Lobster!. . . And a high pitched voice. And a fantastic chest. . . . oh shit.
posted by barchan at 3:18 PM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


#notallhominids
posted by Renoroc at 3:33 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


#notallhominids

Dude, come on -

#NotAllCavemen
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:38 PM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


So, an entire race of Lemongrabs then.
posted by The Whelk at 3:44 PM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


Communications officer: Sir, the aliens appear friendly, but there's a complication- the translation programs just aren't designed for this...

Captain: What is it? They speak Standard, don't they?

Comms officer, wincing: Yes, fluently. Give me a few more minutes and I might be able to compensate for their, ah... accent

Captain: Time is of the essence! Their accent can't be that strong, can it?

Comms officer, wincing further: It's... not exactly strong, sir, they're completely intelligible, it's just-

Captain: Damn it, put them on-screen!

Comms: Onscreen now, sir.

EEONE TYEEEEOOOO THREEEEE!
posted by BungaDunga at 4:03 PM on March 16, 2015 [13 favorites]


Captain: Set phasers to full power. Fire immediately. Leave no survivors.

Captain's Log: Contact with alien species designate 22001A failed. Recommend no further attempts. Proceeding to next rendezvous at maximum warp.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:09 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]






So why do we find this kind of voice so instinctively annoying? Maybe we heard way too much of it back in prehistory.

"Oh crap, Ug's going to tell us how his day went again. Why did we teach him to speak?"
posted by Kevin Street at 5:37 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thank you for bringing this video back into my life!
posted by missmerrymack at 5:45 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was expecting something more like "The O'Reilly Factor." Or perhaps Jimmy Castor.
posted by TedW at 6:18 PM on March 16, 2015


That was so much funnier than I expected. I was so unprepared for him to sound like the charity shop ladies from League of Gentlemen.
posted by wrabbit at 6:38 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


If they know what the shape of the voice box was, and they know about the chest volume, etc. Couldn't they somehow build a model approximating these attributes and test the theory to some extent?
posted by MrBobaFett at 6:52 PM on March 16, 2015


If they know what the shape of the voice box was, and they know about the chest volume, etc. Couldn't they somehow build a model approximating these attributes and test the theory to some extent?

Yes and no. We know about the voice box because of the hyoid, which is a bone that sort of sits over the top of the larynx. So from that, we know some of the anatomy of the larynx, although not all of it. That being said, the lungs and the larynx itself are not the only things that influence the kinds of sounds you can make.

For example, people sometimes talk about dropped larynxes--which allow you to lower your formant frequency by extending the length of your vocal tract--as something that only humans do with respect to speech. (Actually, that's not true; many mammals also drop their larynxes when vocalizing, and red deer and elk among other species have permanently lowered larynxes as humans do.) That's going to substantially alter the "deepness" of the voice, but how far you drop your larynx isn't necessarily visible from the skeletal architecture. (Actually, in some species the larynx only drops low in the neck when the animal is actively vocalizing.) The soft palate also plays a role in communication, and that tissue is gone in Neanderthal skeletons. And of course, the kinds of sounds which are anatomically possible are not necessarily the sounds that individuals make--personally, I think her idea that Neanderthals are shouting all the time really, really specious.

That said, you certainly can synthetically model sounds to account for the variations you can get at using anatomy, which is probably what you'd do if you wanted to get a better attempt than using a human voice impression. That seems to me to be a bit easier than trying to build a model.
posted by sciatrix at 7:37 PM on March 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


they already build the model its name is Eliot
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:13 PM on March 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


All it needs is an evolutionary biology story to let me know exactly why this all must be true.
posted by meinvt at 8:24 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Recently saw a book that postulated one of the reasons Our ancestors out-competed Neanderthals was we'd domestcated wolf-dogs by the time we made contact.

No mention was made of setting the dogs on them for annoying voices.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:35 PM on March 16, 2015


Ah, grad school.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:49 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to the new trend of Shakespeare performed in the original Neanderthal accent.
posted by moonmilk at 2:00 AM on March 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Institute of Funny Talking is hard at work, I see.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:18 AM on March 17, 2015


Sounds like the Monty Python housewives to me.
posted by jenh526 at 6:41 AM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: "So, an entire race of Lemongrabs then."

UNACCEPTABLE.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:40 PM on March 17, 2015


personally, I think her idea that Neanderthals are shouting all the time really, really specious.

You say specious, I say the start of the best Dr. Who script ever!
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:38 PM on March 17, 2015


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