I've been trying to track down information on a presentation this week in Honolulu at the American Society of Human Genetics Convention. Raymond Clarke of New South Wales, Australia reports that a gene, called the "tospeak" gene has been identified as being important in proper shaping of the vocal tract and voice box. The gene itself is exclusive to primates, and the human version differs from that of other primates. In a response to an e-mail query from me, Dr. Clarke says,“The birth and evolution of the tospeak gene may represent the key evolutionary change to the human genome and our anatomical capacity to speak." It sounds suspiciously enthusiastic to my ears, but until I learn more I can't say.