Re: Neanderthal "voice boxes"?

MSCob (
19 Jan 1997 18:00:49 GMT

Cavalli-Sforza says, "It is believed that Basques were in the present area
before the arrival of Neolithics some 6000-7000 years ago and spoke a
proto-Basque language, a pre-Indo-European relic. If so, they may be
direct descendants of upper Paleolithics of the Cro-Magnon type" (1994, p
276). He is using the linguistic opinion that Basque is an ancient
language, formerly wider-spread in Europe, to help interpret his own blood
factor distributions, rather than making the linguistic suggestion
himself. He puts the Basques in the pre-Neolithic because he is following
Renfrew's hypothesis (which is weak linguistically) that the Indo-European
language arrived with agriculture. If Indo-European was imposed
relatively recently from the top down, by a small elite rather than a huge
migration, then Basque might have arrived quite recently in Europe,
perhaps the first millennium before Christ.

Cavalli-Sforza's work is certainly fascinating, but he is putting
together evidence and opinions from history, linguistics, and archaeology
in order to interpret his genetic patterns as indications of various
migrations. Any new discovery, in archaeology particularly, could alter
these interpretations drastically. So he is carrying on a fascinating
ongoing exploration, not presenting us with anything like the last word.

By the way, what does "chuffed" mean?

Mary Coberly