According to Noam Chomsky’s linguistic theories, humans have evolved to possess an innate, biological set of grammatical “building blocks” of which recursion — the ability to insert one phrase inside another — is perhaps the most fundamental. But an isolated Amazon tribe speaks a language without recursion, and they are, in the words of cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, “a bomb thrown into the party” of modern linguistics.

and the really interesting bit:

Contrary to Chomsky’s proposal that universal grammar is the best way to think about where language comes from, another possibility is just that humans have different brains that are different globally from those of other species, that they have a greater general intelligence that can be exploited for all sorts of purposes in human thinking and human problem-solving.

from wired