You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

University of Michigan researcher says monkey sounds reminiscent of human speech

By Kellie Woodhouse

Ethiopia Talking Monk_Bert-1.jpg

Wild geladas produce more complex sounds than other primates.

AP Photo

A University of Michigan researcher thinks the lip-smacking sounds made by Ethiopian monkeys may represent an evolutionary link between primate communication and human speech.

Wired magazine is reporting the researcher, Thore Bergman, has found that wild geladas produce more complex sounds than other primates, and added the sounds are eerily reminiscent of human speech.

“When we first started working with geladas in 2006, we noticed sounds like people were talking around you,” Bergman told Wired after he published his findings in Current Biology. “Most primates only make a few sounds, but geladas produce a complex stream with a rhythm similar to language.”

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Did you know that UM still does research on monkeys? It is near the hospital basement that they keep them. Sad to think UM is still hurting animals. Time to move on UM.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

There are dark secrets in those basements.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Want to do some worthwhile research? Figure out how we can keep the roads in better shape in this climate!


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

Nicholas Wow brilliant idea! That would be a real boon to the economy. L.O.L. You should be on city council.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

Try parking your car.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

More tax payer money used to fund someones vacations and learn about monkeys. Great!

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 3:11 a.m.

Don't you know you're going to shock the monkey


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

God forbid another species could have speech, that would mean maybe us humans aren't the smartest species. Why I believe us humans played a roll killing off the Neanderthals. We have enough problems today trying to accept people of other races and religions , I could just imagine how different the Neanderthals must have been. True, why did they die off and not us, unless they did not resent us as much and did not hunt us down ? And besides the Neanderthals, there was other human species, what happen to all of them, why are they all gone today ? Its really so sad what could have been.

no flamers!

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

When I read something like "us humans" it does make me wonder...

An Arborigine

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 9:31 p.m.

A spokes primate was adamant in his reaction "We as a species are both surprised and insulted to be compared to such an inferior species."

Dog Guy

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:49 p.m.

It is indeed joyously inspiring to believe that we are the image and likeness of Ethiopian monkeys, but mynah birds have the edge in this instance.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

"researcher says monkey sounds reminiscent of human speech" I thought it was the other way around...


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Once we take a look who we have voted into office? I begin to wonder if the monkey would have been the better candidate.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 11:14 p.m.

I can only agree with @tdw since if I say it myself I'll get moderated.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

Homeland....a little paranoid ? Bush was the 43rd president.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

People on Jerry Springer ?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

It really depends upon who's doing the talking.