W. Tecumseh Fitch

W. Tecumseh Fitch (actually William Tecumseh Sherman Fitch III, born 1963 in Boston ) is an American evolutionary biologist and cognition.


Fitch graduated from Brown University in Providence and was there from 1989 until his graduation in 1994 worked as a research assistant. As a postdoctoral researcher, he worked from 1996 to 1999 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. From 1999 to 2002 he taught at Harvard University and then worked until 2003 Guest lecturer at the Institute for Advanced Study Berlin, before he was appointed to the University of St Andrews, where he taught until 2009 at the Institute of Psychology. In the winter semester 2005/2006 he held a visiting professorship at the Leibniz University of Leipzig, and taught at the Leipzig Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. In 2009, Fitch to a professorship at the University of Vienna, where he has headed the Institute of Cognitive Biology; next he is an honorary professor at the University of St Andrews.

Fitch is a direct descendant of the U.S. General William T. Sherman, to which it owes its name.


Fitch's research focuses on the evolutionary and neuroscientific bases of cognition and communication, Theoretical Biology, the biolinguistics and Bioacoustics and Biomusik. He is co-editor of the journals and Biolinguistics Journal of Experimental Biology.

Writings (selection )

  • The Evolution of Language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2010.
  • Vocal tract length and formant frequency dispersion correlate with body size in rhesus macaques. In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Volume 102, 1997, pp. 1213-1222.
  • The evolution of speech: A comparative review. In: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 4, 2000, pp. 258-267.
  • (along with David Reby ): The descended larynx is not uniquely human. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society, Section B: Biological Sciences, vol 268, 2001, pp. 1669-1675.
  • The evolution of language: A comparative review. In: Biology and Philosophy, Volume 20, 2006, pp. 193-230.
  • The biology and evolution of music: A comparative perspective. In: Cognition, Volume 100, 2006, pp. 173-215.
  • Prolegomena to a future science of biolinguistics. In: Biolinguistics, Volume 3.4, 2009, pp. 283-320.