Family Tree of Languages Has Roots in Anatolia, Biologists Say

by , under 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Autosomal DNA, DNA, FamilyTree DNA

Recently, I stumbled upon that headline and was immediately intrigued. I learned that it appeared over an article from the 12 Aug 2012 issue of The New York Times. You can check it out at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/science/indo-european-languages-originated-in-anatolia-analysis-suggests.html. The following statement is especially interesting to me as a Finnish-American:

Historical linguists see other evidence in that the first Indo-European speakers had words for “horse” and “bee,” and lent many basic words to proto-Uralic, the mother tongue of Finnish and Hungarian. The best place to have found wild horses and bees and be close to speakers of proto-Uralic is the steppe region above the Black Sea and the Caspian. The Kurgan people who occupied this area from around 5000 to 3000 B.C. have long been candidates for the first Indo-European speakers.

People of Finnish ancestry, and those of Hungarian ancestry too, are usually well informed that these two languages are considered Finno-Ugriic and are unlike others prvelant of Europe today. While the article is more than two years old, it is useful in explaining the debate about how languages of Europe developed. Of interest is the fact the main expert quoted in the article is called an “evolutionary biologist.” Evolutionary biology has an entry at Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_biology. Here is the lead paragraph from that entry:

Evolutionary biology is a sub-field of biology concerned with the study of the evolutionary processes that produced the diversity of life on Earth. Someone who studies evolutionary biology is known as an evolutionary biologist. Evolutionary biologists study the descent of species, and the origin of new species.

My conclusion: Being aware of this field of study provides another avenue of learning about the origins of my distant ancestors. Eventually, I aim to explore autosomal DNA (http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Autosomal_DNA) and see how it matches up with some of the conclusions of the field of evolutionary biology. FYI, the website of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy referenced above, in addition to defining autosomal DNA,  provides the further information autosomal DNA testing:

Autosomal DNA tests for genetic genealogy are provided by 23andMe, Family Tree DNA (the Family Finder test) and AncestryDNA. The Family Finder test and the AncestryDNA tests are both genealogical DNA tests which give you matches with genetic cousins and also give you ethnicity percentages. The 23andMe test is a genealogical DNA test but also provides information on health and traits. The cousin-finding element of the 23andMe test is known as DNA Relatives (formerly Relative Finder)).

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