"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" (Dobshansky). (a) Darwin already suggested that early-hominoid (c 20 Ma) gibbon-like duets contained important elements of human speech: loud & variable sounds, rhythm & tone, dialog. (b) Much later, early-Pleistocene Homo (c 2 Ma) dispersed along coasts & rivers (e.g. barnacles, marine & freshwater molluscs at Mojokerto 1.8 Ma), where they parttime waded & dived (explaining voluntary breathing) for waterside & shallow aquatic foods (rich in brain-specific nutrients e.g. DHA) and got oral adaptations for sucking-swallowing soft & slippery foods (rather than biting-chewing): small mouth, globular tongue & smooth vaulted palate, closed parabolic tooth-row + incisiform canines, tongue bone descent etc., allowing production of labial, dental, palatal, uvular etc.consonants. In short, song + seafood = speech preadaptations. M.Vaneechoutte, S.Munro & M.Verhaegen 2011 "Seafood, diving, song and speech" pp.181-9 in M.Vaneechoutte cs eds 2011 "Was Man more aquatic in the past? Fifty years after Hardy" eBook Bentham Sci.Publ.: ... we present comparative data suggesting that the various elements of human speech evolved at different times, and originally had different functions. Recent work by Nishimura [1-6] shows that what is commonly known as the laryngeal descent actually evolved in a mosaic way in minimally 2 steps: (a) a descent of the thyroid cartilage relative to the hyoid, a descent also seen in non-human hominoids, (b) a descent of the hyoid bone relative to the palate, which is less obvious in non-human hominoids, and which is accentuated by the absence of prognathism in the short & flat human face. Comparisons with other animals suggest: (a) the 1st descent might be associated with loud & varied sound production, (b) the 2d might be part of an adaptation to eating seafoods, such as shellfish, which can be sucked into the mouth, and swallowed without chewing, even underwater. We argue that the origin of human speech is based on different preadaptations that were present in human ancestors: (a) sound production adaptations related to the descent of the thyroid cartilage associated with the territorial calls of apes, (b) transformation of the oral & dentitional anatomy, including the descent of the hyoid, associated with reduced biting & chewing, (c) diving adaptations, leading to voluntary control of the airway entrances & voluntary breath control ... Our papers & PPT on speech origins can be found at tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/AAT, www.researchgate.net/profile/Marc_Verhaegen & independent.academia.edu/marcverhaegen.