Not strictly palaeontology here, although this review paper does comment on research into fossils and the origin of language. This isn't really my field so I'll admit I don't know much about the science, however, it seems that the evolution of language is something that many researchers are interested in that still remains a bit of a mystery.

I'm really posting this because it includes what has got to be the most pessimistic abstract I've ever seen: basically suggesting that we don't know anything. At all.

In a way it's a nice change as the pressures of academia and getting papers into journals can sometimes lead to over-enthusiastic conclusions based on the evidence available, and you have to be careful to sift through the optimistic language to see the hard underlying facts. One the other hand, as a twitter user said 'Wow, why don't we all just give up and go home'. Hopefully some of the studies have provided a bit more insight than this paper gives them credit for, even if they haven't provided 'the answer'.

The list of authors includes Noam Chomsky who is a huge name in the field. It also includes Marc Hauser (as first author) who has previously been found guilty of the 'over-enthusiastic conclusions' I mentioned before.

There's an interesting response to the review, including some criticisms of it here: http://www.replicatedtypo.com/the-mystery-of-language-evolution/8497.html

The paper is an interesting read, in as much as it provides a straightforward summary of the state of the field. It's not all doom and gloom, at the end they put in some suggestions about how to move forward. We might not know anything about anything now but maybe in the future we could find out something about a few things...