Back in September I briefly mentioned two recent papers in Music Perception on the evolution of music: Justus & Hutsler and McDermott & Hauser. As Darwin famously noted in The Descent of Man, from an evolutionary standpoint our ability to make music is “among the most mysterious with which [man] is endowed”. It is clear enough why being able to communicate through language would be an evolutionary benefit, but music? What adaptive purpose could the ability to produce and appreciate music possibly serve? Well, Justus & Hutsler and McDermott & Hauser are only a few of a surge of researchers to recently take a crack at Darwin’s old mystery. (For a great introduction to the field, see The Origins of Music, an anthology edited by Nils Wallin, Björn Merker, and Steven Brown.) However, I just now became aware that Music Perception has since published a string of very interesting commentaries to these two papers, including comments by Ian Cross, Björn Merker, Tecumseh Fitch, and Anirrudh Patel. There’s even a reply to the commentaries by McDermott and Hauser. I highly recommend taking a look at them all.