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Last updated at 15:11 BST, Thursday, 11 April 2013

Talking monkeys

Gelada monkeys

After humans, geladas have the most sophisticated voices

The bizarre call of the gelada monkey bears a surprising resemblance to human speech. Scientists are researching whether or not it might help us understand how early humans spoke.

Finn and Neil talk about the development of human speech, and make some silly noises.

This week's question:

What do geladas eat?

a) fish

b) grass

c) ice-cream

Listen to the programme to find out the answer.


Talking monkeys

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the noise made when liquid is moved around at the back of the throat


(using) words which sound like their meaning



primitive noises

early and simple sounds

evolutionary ancestors

early types of plant or animal before they developed into their modern forms

speech-like properties

qualities that are like speech

vocal anatomy

the physical structure of the inside of the mouth and throat

lip smacking

making sounds with the lips, tongue and teeth without using the voice


sounds made using the voice

small talk

conversation that is not really important, but helps people who do not know each other well pass the time

monkey business

behaviour that is silly, unacceptable or dishonest