Human language arose in southern Africa, a new study in Science magazine claims.
Language then spread across the globe through human migration. The claim compliments fossil findings that point to southern Africa as the birthplace of modern humans.
According to the Washington Post, researcher Quentin Atkinson of the University of Auckland in New Zealand conducted the study by breaking down 504 languages into their smallest components, called phonemes. As the Post explains, the words “rip” and “lip” are separated by one phoneme, “one corresponding to the letter ‘r’ and the other to the letter ‘l.'”