Humans perceive poetry, rhyme and rhythm specifically, it produces some emotions and feelings that prose cannot do.

Does this indicate an evolutionary trait that evolved under extensive use of poetry in prehistoric times, before writing was invented, for keeping and transferring knowledge?

Since the poetry is easier to remember and allows natural error-correction due to rhyme and rhythm, it could be naturally used to keep knowledge in oral form for practical purposes. And special perception of poetry could be a huge evolutionary advantage of a population, that would allow them to keep more knowledge. This could last for hundreds of thousands of years.

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    I believe it has been suggested that the human affinity for rhymes developed as an evolutionary advantage for sexual selection, in that forming rhymes is a demonstration of higher intelligence. That seems somewhat more convincing than evolving poetry for record keeping - but as with all such topics, definitive evidence is going to be hard to come by. – Semaphore Jul 21 '14 at 7:56
  • Assertions without any evidence of research. – Mark C. Wallace Jul 21 '14 at 10:12
  • Only indirectly related (Singing often has ryming) is the assertion that Language itself evolved from singing. One study about that is polyphony.ge/uploads/whoaskthefirst.pdf (Most important is "Part III Singing, Questioning, Thinking, Talking, Stuttering") – user45891 Aug 4 '14 at 20:19

If you are asking about rhyme: Ancient Sanskrit, Avestan, Greek, Latin, Germanic, Akkadian, Biblical Hebrew etc etc. all have poetry, but none of these use rhyme as a poetic tool.You need to separate the concepts of "poetry" and "rhyme" if you want a reasonable answer.

  • This does not mean it was not used before. Modern humans exist for 200000 years. – Anixx Jul 21 '14 at 9:49
  • So you know what poetry sounded like 200 000 years before the oldest records of any human language? – fdb Jul 21 '14 at 9:54

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