This summer an important fundamental discovery was reported at the Society for Experimental Biology’s annual meeting July 3-6 in Valencia, Spain: hand gestures grew out of fish brains!

Andrew Bass, Cornell professor of neurobiology and behavior, described how he found evidence that illustrates how fish are able to vocalize and communicate via their pectorial fins:

“Using methods to understand how the brain is connected to different muscle groups, we mapped the early development of two systems in the brain that control muscles that allow fish to vocalize and to move their pectoral fins.”

“Using methods to understand how the brain is connected to different muscle groups, we mapped the early development of two systems in the brain that control muscles that allow fish to vocalize and to move their pectoral fins. We found that these systems arise from the same compartment.”

“Evidence that the evolutionary origins of the link between speech and gesturing can be traced to a developmental compartment in the caudal hindbrain of fish.”

This insight can be understood visually by notifying how the pectorial fins in fishes are usually located close to the hind brain – see picture below.

Source: 11 strange things we learned this summer