Without vowels we would be still chimps, we will only grunt not make words!! No language, means no skills, no literatures, no classics no books no writers and no music. The journey of evolution from how did we get from animal barks, howls, grunts to human language is a very interesting part of our evolution? Though the three billion letters that make up the human genome, only 15 million of them—less than 1 percent—have changed in the six million years or so since the human and chimp lineages diverged. Evolutionary theory holds that the vast majority of these changes had little or no effect on our biology. But somewhere among those roughly 15 million bases lay the differences that made us human.
Chimpanzees are the closest living relatives of humans and share nearly 99 percent of our DNA. But we are not Chimps, One thing that distinguishes us, despite of all DNA similarities is Vowels. Yes, you read it right. Vowels made us humans.We owe our language, our literature, our classics and our culture to vowels.
Two things that makes a huge difference where humans differ so profoundly, despite having nearly identical DNA blueprints is the position of Larynx and Bipedalism.Look at AEIOU the 5 vowels, 21 consonants alone cannot be used to form a word, every word needs the help any of the five vowels to be pronounced. We humans have the ability to turn the sound of the voice shaped in a manner to form words. Words are made up of vowels and consonants. The shaping is done by the muscles of the mouth, palate, lips, and tongue.
The descent of larynx is the reason we humans learned to speak. Without speech, there would have been no language, no literature or sciences. Sciences need expression; the relative truths need someone to think, speak and write. The reason chimps only grunt and cannot make words is because their larynx is slightly higher than we humans. Chimps have a poor Vocal-auditory function and therefore no 'Vowel perception.' A higher larynx in chimps leaves them only to grunt, barks, howls. Development of voice, speech and language ultimately became a substantial contributing factor in human evolution and development. This is a perfection that gave us thinking and ability to enrich our minds through communication and exchange of ideas. (Vowels are not part of the Arabic alphabet. They are little symbols on top or underneath letters, Japanese have 5 synthetic and natural vowels and French eight natural vowels)
Vowels are accompanied by vibration of the larynx and passing of the sound unobstructed through the mouth. Consonants are formed mainly by the alteration of the laryngeal sound by the tongue, teeth, lips, and palate. A word cannot be made up of consonants alone, because most of these cannot be voiced unless a vowel precedes or follows them. Some consonants are called labials (Latin labia, lip) because they are formed by the lips; it is impossible to say b, p, f, m, or v with your mouth alone. Others (d, t, l, n, r, s, z, ch, j) are linguals, requiring the use of the tongue (Latin lingua, tongue). G, q, and k are gutturals, made with the back of the palate (Latin gutter, throat). For me, the most important privilege and perfection we as humans achieved was posterior migration of the tongue into the pharynx, descent of the larynx and shortening of the soft palate with loss of the epiglottic–soft palate lock-up; without this movement of the larynx we could not have been further away from chimps. There is an evolutionary reason for it.
Ancestral roots of human language is in animal sounds: grunts, barks, whines. Chimpanzees cannot produce three vowel sounds a, e, i, o, u they have thinner tongues and a higher larynx, than humans, making it hard for them to pronounce vowel sounds. The vocal tract of chimpanzees is incapable of the articulation of the full range of sounds used by modern humans; e.g. chimp cannot raise tongue toward the roof of its mouth to articulate vowel sounds like "oo" and "ee" or cut off passage of air and make consonant sounds like "k."
Posterior migration of the tongue into the pharynx, descent of the larynx: The descent of the larynx is a recent occurrence in terms of the age of our cold planet. 300,000 years ago, early Neanderthals still could not pronounce "ee" "oo" or "a" (as the vowel in "father") It is just 100,000 years ago, first modern vocal tract appears in fossils of Homo sapiens. 100,000-50,000 years ago, gradual brain lateralization and localization of certain language abilities in left hemisphere; beginnings of development of symbolic thought and of language as we know it. Common origin of all human languages in a single language (Proto-World) first spoken in Africa around 70,000-60,000 years ago.
That gave us the ability to think, talk and write gave us the ideas of the myths of afterlife. The events in our biological maturity like posterior migration of the tongue into the pharynx, descent of the larynx and Bipedalism helped us create a myth of soul, a life that never ends. Our ability to talk gave us words to create myths, unlike smart chimps or dolphins. Our ambidexterity gave us the tools to free our hands to make Sphinx and Terra Cotta warriors that will serve us in the next world; Pharaohs and Chin died for posterity and left all these great tombs and sphinx to be served in their afterlife. It was not the Abrahamic holy prophets who primed the legend of afterlife, it was a myth that was born with evolution of our self consciousness and senses. The journey into the afterlife and search of elixir came with our increasing skill to talk, make stories and created new affection for eternity.