Thursday, March 17, 2016

Evolutionary web

Per this NYTimes story, the human evolutionary tree looks something like this crude drawing - not to scale.  The dotted lines indicate some extent of inter-breeding.  I have added "South Asians" to the narrative as well.  Given that supposedly India has a human genetic diversity rivaled only by that of Africa, and that India remains under-studied, I expect a lot more surprises in the future.

The dotted lines are small perturbations (a few percent of the genome) in each case.  I expect the "tree" of language families and languages to actually have much denser cross-connects in an undiscoverable reality, because the evidence on languages is much less rich than the evidence from genes; even constructing the basic tree for languages is a struggle.