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name is Keith Hunley.
I'm a genetic anthropologist in
the evolutionary anthropology
subfield of the
Department of Anthropology
at the University of New Mexico.
Genetic anthropologists apply
methods from statistical genetics
to diverse types of data to examine
the nature, evolutionary causes,
and larger social and scientific
meaning of the structure
of human diversity.
My research interests include
human origins and dispersal.
And I've been studying the topic
of today's lecture, gene-language
coevolution, for about 12 years.
This is the outline for the lecture.
I'll begin with some background
about the theoretical underpinnings
and rationale for studies of
In 1859, the comparative method
for studying the development
of languages was still emerging.
Controversial hypotheses had been
developed about the relationships
among Indo-European languages.
But there was no consensus
about these relationships
or the methods used
for determining them.
This quote illustrates Darwin's
thinking about this problem
and a potential solution.
Human races had undergone
a process of descent
with modification from a
single common ancestor.
And their languages
must have evolved
in concert with those races.
So if we possess a perfect
pedigree of mankind,
a genealogical arrangement
of the races of man
would afford the best classification
of the various languages
now spoken throughout the world.
As Darwin saw it, there was a
single common ancestral group
that underwent a series of
splits followed by independent
or nearly independent evolution.
In isolation, genes and
And if you knew one
classification, you knew the other.
I will refer to this splitting
and independent evolution
process as a tree-like process, or
as treeness throughout the lecture.
And I also will refer to
congruent gene and language trees.