Re: The Anthroplogy of th

Rab Wilkie (
Mon, 12 Dec 94 01:03:00 -0500

-=> Quoting Scott C Delancey to All <=-

SCD> CD> Date: 8 Dec 1994 15:40:18 -0800

SCD> Several people, from Paul Radin up through Greenberg, have
SCD> argued that linguistic evidence shows that all the rest of the New
SCD> World languages represent a single migration.

They may represent the influence of one language, spoken by a people
who settled in the New World as a result of a single migration, but
this need not imply that there were no other occupants & languages here
beforehand who subsequently were subsumed.

SCD> In my opinion, shared with almost everyone who knows much of anything
SCD> about the subject, no one has yet produced linguistic evidence which
SCD> makes a very convincing case for this.

Are you familiar with Merritt Ruhlen's work as presented in "The Origin of
Language", Wiley, 1994?

>Do you know when the previous interglacial occured? I would expect that the
>bering crossing would have to be accomplished when the ice had retreated
>enough to expose exploitable terrain, but not so much as to flood the
>continental shelf.

SCD> I could look this up, but my memory is that the next earliest ice-free
SCD> through NW Canada was somewhere in the 25-30,000 BP range. But
SCD> another possibility, not yet very thoroughly investigated AFAIK, is
SCD> migration down the Pacific Coast, which was ice-free most of the time.

Would Beringian passage ever have been much of an obstacle, even during
times when the strait existed? The Timor Sea didn't prevent the arrival of
the first Australians -- 50,000y ago. (Or 120,000y BP, if the pollen analyses
/fire regimen correlations are an indication of VERY early settlment).

SCD> Another possibility, suggested by anthropologists like Peter
SCD> Bellwood and Colin Renfrew, is that the California/Caucasus situation
SCD> was once normal throughout the world.

Perhaps there were more pockets of linguistic diversity, but of course
peoples have always tended to group in a certain few discrete regions capable
of supporting diversity, while populations were sparse and more interactive
in most other areas.

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