Untangling Our Past: Languages, Trees, Splits and Networks
Bryant, D., Filimon, F. and Gray, R. (2005) Untangling our past: Languages, Trees, Splits and Networks. In: The Evolution of Cultural Diversity: Phylogenetic Approaches. Editors: R. Mace, C. Holden, S. Shennan. Publisher: UCL Press, pp. 69-85.
In Act 1 of The Importance of Being Earnest, Algernon quips to Jack that "The truth is rarely pure and never simple". The idea that much of recent human history might reï¬‚ect pure trees of phylogenetic descent is appealing simple. It has stimulated numerous researchers to investigate the extent to which genes, languages and cultures are bound together in co-diverging trees of evolutionary history (eg Cavalli-Sforza et al 1994; see Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman 2003 for a recent review). Increasingly, studies have used explicit phylogenetic methods to make inferences about linguistic history and the evolution of cultural traits (Warnow and Ringe 1997; Gray and Jordan 2000 ; Pagel 2000; Holden 2002; Oâ€™Brien et al 2002; Jordan and Shennan 2003; Holden and Mace 2003; Rexova et al 2003). However, a persistent criticism of this approach is that human population history is far from tree-like (Moore 1994; Terrell 1988; Terrell et al 2001). Not only might patterns of genetic, linguistic and cultural diversity reï¬‚ect different histories (Bateman et al 1990), each of these histories might be strikingly reticulate. As one participant at a recent symposium on phylogenetic methods in archaeology growled: "This is not history. This is history put in nested boxes!".
- Untangling Our Past: Languages, Trees, Splits and Networks
- Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin
- The Pleasures and Perils of Darwinizing Culture (with phylogenies)
- Does horizontal transmission invalidate cultural phylogenies?
- Curious Parallels and Curious Connectionsâ€”Phylogenetic Thinking in Biology and historical linguistics
- Quantifying uncertainty in a stochastic dollo model of vocabulary evolution.
- On the shape and fabric of human history
- From words to dates: Water into wine, mathemagic or phylogenetic inference?
- How old is the Indo-European language family?
- How Accurate and Robust Are the Phylogenetic Estimates of Austronesian Language Relationships?