Newborn babies arrive as strangers in a strange land. They know nothing of the customs or language of their new mysterious world. Yet astonishingly, with almost no obvious effort, babies learn an entirely new language. Some babies even learn several.
They manage this feat, in part, by tons of behind-the-scenes practice, a new study finds. Babies mentally rehearse the movements required for speech long before they utter a word, scientists reported July 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Harvard geneticist George Church recently told Der Spiegel he's close to developing the necessary technology to clone a Neanderthal, at which point all he'd need is an "adventurous human woman" — einen abenteuerlustigen weiblichen Menschen — to act as a surrogate mother.