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"D'oh" may have been man's first word


It is, sadly now, the cringeworthy catchphrase that graces your office environs all too often.

But it seems as if "D'oh!" or a similar version of it (Duh) can be traced right back to prehistoric man.

Apparently the shape and mechanics of the mouth, throat and other parts of the vocal tract of our ancestors from one million years ago would have allowed them to speak. There is one bone in the vocal tract - the hyoid - and Dr Bart de Boer, of the University of Amsterdam, began studying it.

In apes the hyoid attaches to a large pouch called an air sac, which shrank as modern man evolved meaning more complex words could be formed, reports New Scientist.

Dr de Boer, said it is likely that basic speech emerged around a million years ago, with 'Duh and 'Buh' both contenders for the first word.



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