Andy Holland wrote:
> John wrote:
>> In the absence of evidence, there is no reason to assume that the
>> females sounded (substantially) different from the males.
> Not sure - but female voices are not pitched higher than males in
> humans but rather they are the normal voices. I know that's semantics
> but it's the perception than feminine = higher pitched and more
> fragile/delicate etc. that is picked up in the press to assume this
> is the case for other species and that therefore Neanderthal females
> would be "squeaky"!
> In men it's the effect of the testosterone (and other testicular
> generated hormones) that changes the physiology thus reducing the
> pitch of the voice.
> Although I'm not sure if this is an intended evolutionary trait:
> sexual selection based on deep voices for males
> or an unintended trait: testosterone in males leads to greater
> robusticity of the musculo skeletal frame which in turn lead to
> changes enlargening the larynx and thus increasing the length of the
> vocal cords creating lower pitched voices.
> Anyway I'm not sure how applicable using human physiology as a model
> is to Neanderthalensis as both males and females of that species
> exhibit more robust bodies (i.e. brawnier) and thus the changes to
> the larynx may not be as sexually dimorphic. You would have to sample
> a significant number of males and female Neanderthal skulls to see if
> there was a difference to really prove it and since there aren't that
> many surviving specimens it's not going to happen!
Well, I was the one pooh-poohing the original report, and disputing pitch
levels. If they are really insisting on a small larynx for the adult male
Neanderthal, then I would say that that suggests that there are not sexually
dimorphic larynxes (larynges).