PIE vs. Proto-World (Out of Africa)

X99Lynx at aol.com X99Lynx at aol.com
Fri Aug 13 09:44:00 UTC 1999

In a message dated 8/13/99 3:07:50 AM, rmccalli at sunmuw1.MUW.Edu wrote:

<<It is true that the date for Eve has been questioned but remember
that all non-Africans (as well as some Africans) are in the same
mitochondrial pool. The point is that the mitochondrial separation date for
this group is still a determined fraction of the date for Eve.>>

But even if Out of Africa is correct you've never established the point where
it corresponds to a language or languages.  So that separation date is an
arbitrary correlation as far as what left Africa - e.g., the evacuation of
New Guinea and 500 languages leave.

<<As I remember the multi-genesis theory is based on skull
similarities that are rejected by the overwhelming majority of

Please check out the August SciAm.  This is a front-of-issue news story.
Also paleobiologists have never confirmed Out of Africa.  I believe it is
almost entirely a statistical concept based on present populations.  And as
pointed out in the article, Out of Africa data is not inconsistent with

<<<And there's nothing to say that modern humans
could not have learned language from Neanderthals.>>>

<<I don't see how. There are no indications of an "out of Europe"
scenario. If you mean that modern humans inherited language from their
ancestors, this obviously presupposes monogenesis...>>

Neanderthals and moderns coexisted.  No O of A needed.   And why is
monogenesis needed to explain language capacity 300,000 years ago or 35,000
years ago?  None of these scenarios demand language monogenesis.

<<<"Researchers have long believed that the ability to make modern human
speech sounds did not develop until about 40,000 years ago." >>>

<<Given that the Australians had already reached Australia about
60,000 BP, that date would seem to be very wrong>>

Why?  Who says those Australians had language at the time?  The two events
have no necessary connection.

<<...speech and language are two different things. The ability
to speak obviously does not presuppose modern language abilities. I don't
propose a date for language evolution.>>

Which means you are saying that modern language could have only started
40,000 years ago.

<<...I suspect that language was the key to modern human
expansion from Africa throughout the rest of the world.>>

I like that, but it's hard to buy.  What you actually need is a raft or about
70,000 years to find a Bering Strait landbridge to the new world.  The latter
has archaelogical support.

<<If you don't possess genetic language ability, you're not going to
be able to learn to speak by imitation.>>

This is the loop of logic that defeats analysis by genetic skills.  The main
way you know if you have the genetic ability to speak is if you speak.  But
if you don't speak, it doesn't mean you don't have the genetic ability.  So
yes by definition you can't speak if you don't have the ability to speak.
We're still at square one.

Speech (hypoglossal canal-wise) may be a lot older than Out of Africa.
Language (as modern speech capacity or language system) could be a lot
younger.  And Out of Africa could be just flat out dead wrong.  So where does
that leave us?

Steve Long

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