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      Tracking modern human population history from linguistic and cranial phenotype

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        1 , 2 , a , 1 , 2 , b , 2 , 3
      Scientific Reports
      Nature Publishing Group

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          Abstract

          Languages and genes arguably follow parallel evolutionary trajectories, descending from a common source and subsequently differentiating. However, although common ancestry is established within language families, it remains controversial whether language preserves a deep historical signal. To address this question, we evaluate the association between linguistic and geographic distances across 265 language families, as well as between linguistic, geographic, and cranial distances among eleven populations from Africa, Asia, and Australia. We take advantage of differential population history signals reflected by human cranial anatomy, where temporal bone shape reliably tracks deep population history and neutral genetic changes, while facial shape is more strongly associated with recent environmental effects. We show that linguistic distances are strongly geographically patterned, even within widely dispersed groups. However, they are correlated predominantly with facial, rather than temporal bone, morphology, suggesting that variation in vocabulary likely tracks relatively recent events and possibly population contact.

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          Most cited references43

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          Mapping the origins and expansion of the Indo-European language family.

          There are two competing hypotheses for the origin of the Indo-European language family. The conventional view places the homeland in the Pontic steppes about 6000 years ago. An alternative hypothesis claims that the languages spread from Anatolia with the expansion of farming 8000 to 9500 years ago. We used Bayesian phylogeographic approaches, together with basic vocabulary data from 103 ancient and contemporary Indo-European languages, to explicitly model the expansion of the family and test these hypotheses. We found decisive support for an Anatolian origin over a steppe origin. Both the inferred timing and root location of the Indo-European language trees fit with an agricultural expansion from Anatolia beginning 8000 to 9500 years ago. These results highlight the critical role that phylogeographic inference can play in resolving debates about human prehistory.
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            Q(ST)-F(ST) comparisons: evolutionary and ecological insights from genomic heterogeneity.

            Comparative studies of the divergence of quantitative traits and neutral molecular markers, known as Q(ST)-F(ST) comparisons, provide a means for researchers to distinguish between natural selection and genetic drift as causes of population differentiation in complex polygenic traits. The use of Q(ST)-F(ST) comparisons has increased rapidly in the last few years, highlighting the utility of this approach for addressing a wide range of questions that are relevant to evolutionary and ecological genetics. These studies have also provided lessons for the design of future Q(ST)-F(ST) comparisons. Methods based on the Q(ST)-F(ST) approach could also be used to analyse various types of 'omics' data in new and revealing ways.
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              Genetic and fossil evidence for the origin of modern humans.

              The origin of living Homo sapiens has once again been the subject of much debate. Genetic data on present human population relationships and data from the Pleistocene fossil hominid record are used to compare two contrasting models for the origin of modern humans. Both genetics and paleontology support a recent African origin for modern humans rather than a long period of multiregional evolution accompanied by gene flow.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                2045-2322
                11 November 2016
                2016
                : 6
                : 36645
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Paleoanthropology, Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen , Rümelinstraße 23, D-72070 Tübingen, Germany
                [2 ]DFG Center for Advanced Studies ‘‘Words, Bones, Genes, Tools’’, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen , Rümelinstraße 23, D-72070 Tübingen, Germany
                [3 ]Department of Linguistics, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen , Wilhelmstraße 19, D-72074 Tübingen, Germany
                Author notes
                Article
                srep36645
                10.1038/srep36645
                5105118
                27833101
                43f122fd-2f76-4435-91a4-76ec5ef2098b
                Copyright © 2016, The Author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                History
                : 21 July 2016
                : 19 October 2016
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