Wednesday, November 11, 2009

239. The Baseline Scenarios -- part 15: The Baseline

We've arrived at a point where the various pieces of evidence can be assembled to establish some sort of meaningful baseline, however provisionally. Please remember that I am basing my hypotheses on evidence and not conjecture or assumption. This doesn't mean anything has been proven, but it does mean that certain possibilities cannot easily be dismissed.

Before continuing, let me repeat the basic principle behind the method I'm employing here:
Our method will be simple. Any attribute found to be shared by at least one group in each of the three populations with the deepest clades, i.e., Eastern Pygmies, Western Pygmies and Bushmen (EP, WP, Bu), should be taken seriously as a possible survival from the time the ancestors of all three groups were united as one -- the group I'm calling HBP. You could call this the "triangulation method."
Our common ancestors (Hypothetical Baseline Population or HBP) may have been short, because all Pygmies, and some of the most traditional Bushmen groups are also short. Their shortness may be due to an adaptation to tropical forest life, but there is no reason to assume this was necessarily the case, since we have no way of knowing where this phenotype originated. If the shortness of the Pygmies is due to some hormonal factor not shared by Bushmen then the similarity in size can most likely not be attributed to their common ancestor. If, on the other hand, they do share such a factor, it seems likely that it can. This can certainly be tested.

Since poison arrows are commonly used by EP, WP and Bu (Eastern Pygmies, Western Pygmies and Bushmen), then our triangulation method suggests that poison arrows are likely to have been used by HBP, which would mean that the bow and arrow itself is part of the same archaic heritage. A recent finding at Sibudu Cave in Southern Africa of an arrowhead very similar to those used by Bushmen, dating to possibly 61,000 years ago, reinforces this theory. On the other hand, poison arrows are also used by other groups in Africa who may possibly have passed this technology on to both Pygmies and Bushmen, so more research is needed.

We are on much more solid ground with respect to the musical evidence, at least as far as I'm concerned, since my own research over a period of many years has convinced me that the striking similarities in this respect among so many Pygmy and Bushmen groups, representing all three regions of my "triangle," can be explained only on the basis of a common heritage from a common ancestor. The considerable evidence in support of my theory can be found throughout this blog. If I am right, then what I have called Pygmy/Bushmen style (P/B) played an important role in our ancestral culture (HBC).

On the basis of the remarkable photographic and ethnographic evidence I've presented, it seems clear that beehive huts of a type found among all three populations must have been a part of HBC. It also seems likely that HBP were hunter-gatherers, hunting with either bows and arrows or spears, but probably not nets, which appears to be a more recent technology. Interestingly, however, we have no solid evidence that they could not have also done some farming or even had some domesticated herds. Hunting and gathering traditions are strong among all three populations, making it extremely likely that HBP hunted and gathered their food, but that does not mean other subsistence technologies might not have also been present that were subsequently lost or minimized. It's only when we cling to outworn notions of evolutionary "stages" that such possibilities can be dismissed out of hand.

It's hard to say whether shamanism in the strictest sense was a part of HBC, but certain practices central to shamanism almost certainly were, since trance, possession, transmission of important information via dreams, transformation into animals, and supernatural healing are found among almost all Pygmy and Bushmen groups.

As far as kinship is concerned, it seems likely that HBP either had no kinship system at all or a very loosely defined kinship system, since by all reports, kinship terminology among most Pygmy and Bushmen groups is often borrowed from neighboring tribes and is in any case consistently flexible and loosely applied. This raises the question of whether HBP had a fully developed language at the time of earliest divergence. I won't get into this very difficult and controversial issue here, but will refer you to an earlier post in which this possibility is discussed: Did the Pygmies Ever Have a Language of Their Own?

One of the most meaningful and interesting questions we can ask about any society concerns its "core values," the fundamental ideology, passed down from generation to generation, that controls the way people think about themselves, their traditions, and the world at large, shaping both their sense of identity, and, ideally at least, their behavior. And, as we have discovered, there does seem to be something almost "Utopian" about the core values that could be attributed to HBC. Time and again, in one report after the other, from almost every possible source, historical, ethnographic, anecdotal, mythological, we find Pygmies and Bushmen described in very similar, almost glowing terms, as: egalitarian, gender-equal, mutually cooperative, non-violent, individualistic, and almost "communistic" in their obsession with the equal sharing of vital resources.

It is certainly true that there are a great many exceptions in day to day behavior that call such an ideal picture into question, and many anthropologists have been dismissed as hopelessly "romantic" for idealizing such societies. As Alex Liazos has reminded us in his remarkable book on Colin Turnbull, there are indeed a great many troubling aspects of Mbuti Pygmy life that have all too often been glossed over because their traditional value system appears so attractive. It is also true that the many portraits of "Utopian" societies found in Western literature stress the profound difference between the professed ideal and the horrific reality that all too often lurks behind the facade. We know all too well of Twentieth Century attempts to impose Utopian societies that have invariably resulted in completely unrealistic social monstrosities that became hopelessly unsustainable and ultimately collapsed.

Should the Pygmies and Bushmen of today therefore be judged according to their "Utopian" core values or their day to day behavior, which often seems in conflict with their values? Or, to put it another way, can "Utopia" actually exist as a real, sustainable possibility, or is it always at heart a sham. I can't provide an easy answer to such a question, but if the triangulation method can be relied upon, and HBC was indeed, as it would seem, a society equally torn between a Utopian ideal and an all-too-human reality determined to test the limits of that ideal, then such a society could most certainly be regarded as sustainable, since essentially the same mix of "Utopian" values and fractious behavior appears to have persisted over tens of thousands of years.

There is of course a great deal more that could be said regarding all of the above, and a great deal more evidence to add to the picture we have thus far painted, but the point I would like to leave you with for now is that we do indeed appear to have arrived at a baseline of human cultural history, a point zero from which we can consider everything we now see in literally every human society in the world around us, from the most "primitive" to the most "advanced." Think of our baseline as a kind of observatory.

61 comments:

Maju said...

IMO, the baseline population were not necesarily short and definitively had languages (it's absurd to claim otherwise: if you can talk, you talk and everybody in our species can talk - and Neanderthals could too). Actually, one of our main brain differences with chimpanzees is the hyper-development of the parietal lobes, whose main role is communication.

Nevertheless I am intrigued at the possibility that the baseline population had such advances as poisoned arrows and needles as seems apparent from the Sibudu Cave findings.

German said...

"As far as kinship is concerned, it seems likely that HBP either had no kinship system at all or a very loosely defined kinship system, since by all reports, kinship terminology among most Pygmy and Bushmen groups is often borrowed from neighboring tribes and is in any case consistently flexible and loosely applied."

Victor, all human societies have kinship systems. This means that ancestral societies also had kinship systems. Do you think they only had music and neutral genes?

The mistake you're making is called "Teeter's Law." (Karl Teeter was a Algonquian linguist.) You attribute a long evolutionary history to your own field of inquiry (music), while a short evolutionary history to the fields that you either don't understand or that don't fit your ideas (language and kinship). It's very common among linguists to reconstruct a proto-language on the basis of the daughter languages, which they are most familiar with or which they speak as a native tongue.

German said...

"Nevertheless I am intrigued at the possibility that the baseline population had such advances as poisoned arrows and needles as seems apparent from the Sibudu Cave findings."

Great point! Maybe Victor could read this: Clark, J.D. 1977 Interpretations of prehistoric technology from ancient Egyptian and other sources. Part II: Prehistoric arrow forms in Africa as shown by surviving examples of the traditional arrows of the San Bushmen, Paleorient 3 (1977), pp. 127–150.

Clark, however, doesn't look at "arrow poison," probably because poison can't be attested archaeologically, but rather at the four kinds of arrows attested among Khoisans in the 18th-19th centuries and their possible parallels in the archaeological record.

Maju said...

The more I look into kinship, the more alike all systems look to me. The Eskimo and Hawaiian system, which are the ones that would apply (right?) are virtually identical at least: both are ambilineal and quite simple, the main difference being that the concepts of uncle/aunt and cousin don't seem to be named with any specific term.

These two basic systems must be, because of their simplicity, the oldest types. Arguing that complex came before simple in such conceptual matters is just plainly ridiculous. Baroque evolved from Renaissance, not the other way around.

German said...

"Arguing that complex came before simple in such conceptual matters is just plainly ridiculous."

Tell this to Victor, who believes P/B music is most complex and conflates all other styles, hence it's original.

I'll get back to you regarding Eskimo vs. Hawaiian kinship systems at a later point. Got to run.

Maju said...

Ok, you got me. Specially because I used the wrong example of Baroque.

Conceptually anyhow, the logical, natural and surely most widespread kinship system is one in this Eskimo line, which simply lists people by degree of relativeness.

Making differences between the father and mother side implies patri- or matri-focality, which is probably a late development.

Disorganized societies also tend to go back to the simplest system, which is the Eskimo type.

Btw, and rather off-topic. Which category would the Basque system fit in? It's like the Eskimo system but we do make a difference with syblings depending if you (the Ego) are male or female. So my sister is arreba but for my other sister she is ahizpa, and the same happens with brothers (anai and neba).

DocG said...

German: "Victor, all human societies have kinship systems. This means that ancestral societies also had kinship systems."

Really? Going back how far? Do primates have kinship systems? Kinship terminology had to begin at some point or at least develop from something prior to it that was NOT it. The same with music, of course. When we look at the music of contemporary Pygmy and Bushmen groups we see that it is highly developed, which implies, for reasons I've provided at many points in this blog, that the music of HBC was also highly developed, which implies that this development must have occurred prior to the existence of HBP. Kinship among these same groups does not appear to be very developed at all, on the other hand, and has been repeatedly characterized as "flexible" or "loosely defined" or "universal." Which implies kinship terminology might not have been present at all among HBP, or if present only in a rudimentary form. Why is that so difficult to process?

DocG said...

German: "You attribute a long evolutionary history to your own field of inquiry (music), while a short evolutionary history to the fields that you either don't understand or that don't fit your ideas (language and kinship). It's very common among linguists to reconstruct a proto-language on the basis of the daughter languages, which they are most familiar with or which they speak as a native tongue."

I've been very clear in the criteria I've been using to formulate my hypotheses. If you see a flaw at any stage of my reasoning by all means point it out.

What you say above could be applied to literally any theory in any scholarly or scientific field. There are methods that can be used to eliminate the effects of the syndrome to which you refer, and I've made a considerable effort to be as rigorous as possible in this respect. This is what separates scientific methodology and logical inference from mere conjecture. At times I get the feeling that you don't understand the difference between the two.

German said...

Luis, your comment requires an in-depth discussion, and I promise to write you back later today. However, your mentioning of the Basque sibling classification asks for an immediate comment on my part.

A good part of my book "The Genius of Kinship" is devoted to the worldwide analysis of sibling terminologies. A regional model for such an analysis was created by Austronesianists who reconstructed an original sibling pattern and the myriad ways in which it transformed in the daughter languages.

The Basque pattern you mention is unique in Europe. Indo-European languages don't have anything of this sort. The closest parallels in Eurasia are found in Kartvelian languages (the most divergent one, Svan, has an exact structural match to the Basque pattern) and in Burushaski. This type is rare worldwide, too, and constitutes one of the several offshoots of another type that makes more intricate distinctions than the Basque language but is in principle the same. This type, which Murdock once called "Complexly Differentiated, or Siouan type" and I refer to as type G-8, involves the following distinctions: ada 'man's older brother', apa 'man's older sister', asa 'man's younger brother', ana 'man's younger sister', awa 'woman's older brother', aya 'woman's older sister', aza 'woman's younger brother', aha 'woman's younger sister' (the actual terms are made up).

This is the topmost clade in my phylogeny of sibling types. (You can check out the whole phylogeny on my website. I believe I posted it there.) It progressively splits in a binary tree-like fashion. The Basque type is on the opposite side of the tree from another type which removed all sex of speaker distinctions but preserved all the relative age distinctions (in Uralic, Altaic and many other languages sibling are classified into kaka 'older brother', papa 'younger brother', dada 'older sister', mama 'younger sister' (again the terms are fictitious). Austronesian and Niger-Congo languages show an intermediate type between Basque and Uralic-Altaic, which involves the following set: odo 'older same-sex sibling;, ono 'younger same-sex sibling', oho 'man's cross-sibling', owo 'woman's cross-sibling'.

All for now.

German said...

"If you see a flaw at any stage of my reasoning by all means point it out."

I've been doing it all along. The question is rather how receptive are you to critique. Your main flaw (and it starts not even with reasoning but rather with your relationship to the scientific methodology in general) is hedging. You would like Turnbull to be right but you'd like to show your critical thinking, hence you read Grinker, who ends up having very little impact on your ideas about Pygmy culture. Your reasoning problem is self-contradictions, which stems from attitudinal hedging. For instance, you've declared, on a number of occasions, your dissociation from evolutionism as a theory of development from simple to complex. In your most recent comment you used the word "develop" several times, e.g. "Kinship terminology had to begin at some point or at least develop from something prior to it that was NOT it" or "Kinship among these same groups does not appear to be very developed at all."

You write: "When we look at the music of contemporary Pygmy and Bushmen groups we see that it is highly developed, which implies, for reasons I've provided at many points in this blog, that the music of HBC was also highly developed, which implies that this development must have occurred prior to the existence of HBP."

This passage again displays your hedging between needing and hating evolutionist explanations. But, more interestingly, you talk about reasons but in fact it's only your belief that genetics is right. You mentioned, on a number of occasions, that music per se can support any scenario of human dispersals, which also means out of America. This is another contradiction. You have to choose between entertaining beliefs (as a citizen and a consumer you have a right for them) vs. mining for reasons. I haven't seen any reasons why Khoisan and Pygmy music implies common origin between two populations. They are similar from your perspective. Very good. But in comparativism and cladistics there're several explanations for similarities between traits. They could be result of borrowing. they could be result of random retention (plesiomorphy). They could be result of convergence. They could be result of an early substratum effect (e.g., Pygmies when they moved into the tropical forest displaced some relatives of Khoisans but appropriated their style of singing). Your use of "Occam's Razor" is improper as it serves the purpose of simplifying your job as a scholar but it doesn't have any bearing on which of possible explanations of similarities between Khoisan and Pygmy music is true.

You need to have a general theory of musical evolution to establish which scenario is the simplest for music. If music is easily borrowed on a worldwide scale, then borrowing fits Occam's Razor better.
If music tends to evolve independently along similar paths (like so many cultural artifacts from agriculture and domestication to powder and paper), then this is the simplest explanation for the similarities between Pygmy and Khoisan music.

If you admit evolution at any point in the history of music, then you open a can of worms with all those monophonic and heterophonic styles outside of Africa that can furnish a prototype for P/B. How do we know then that P/B evolved before the earliest stages of the divergence of modern humans and not after? You don't have any living prototypes of what pre-P/B could look like unless you admit that these prototypes are outside of Africa.

German said...

Finally, in being a thinker who constantly contradicts himself, you also tend to dismiss a whole host of scholars who work on foragers outside of Africa because genetics has given you a carte blanche to talk about African foragers without any reference to foragers in general. Regardless of who came from where, the knowledge of the language and the recent trends in forager research is essential for developing a right synchronic perspective on foraging cultures (including foraging cultures in Africa, which is a small minority on a worldwide scale) and your interpretation of similarities between Pygmy and Khoisan music as caused by "common descent" can only be valid if you have this synchronic analysis in place. Without such a synchronic analysis these similarities are simply similarities without any phylogenetic meaning. Synchrony and diachrony are tightly connected.

German said...

"Do primates have kinship systems?"

Yes, they do have primary, non-verbal kin recognition systems. The most recent report documented chimps' mourning ritual on the occasion of a "grandmother's" death.

"Kinship terminology had to begin at some point or at least develop from something prior to it that was NOT it."

In "The Genius of Kinship" this evolution is described as a shift from a more concrete, "demographic" (relative sex, relative age and alternate generations as key parameters) to more abstract, "genealogical" (grades of relationships). This is hypothetical but at least the shift is reconstructible from available data coming from modern populations.

"Kinship among these same groups does not appear to be very developed at all, on the other hand, and has been repeatedly characterized as "flexible" or "loosely defined" or "universal."

Universal is different from everything else. It's a technical term used by Barnard to describe systems in which all members of a population and sometimes all humans and all animals have a place in an all-encompassing kinship system. They have been described in Australia, America and among the Khoisans.

"Loosely defined" and "flexible" are purely impressionistic terms. Even medieval European kinship has been described as such, hence one of the explanation of the emergence of Western social norms is the absence of rigid kinship groups ("clans" etc.) in early Europe. These terms are, therefore, negative signifiers that make sense only in opposition to the positive signifiers such as "clans", which are found among agriculturalists and pastoralists in Africa. What stands behind those "flexible" descriptions is hardly known. Barnard did a great job of describing a name-driven kinship system among the Khoisan. Pygmies don't have it. The closest parallel to the Khoisan system is found amomng the Eskimos. This is much more technical than "flexibility."

German said...

An interesting and more technical description of a "loose" kinship system can be found in Geffray C., 1990, Ni pere ni mere. Critique de la parente'. Paris. It's about Makhuwa, a Bantu tribe, which is agriculturalist and not foraging.

German said...

Luis: "Disorganized societies also tend to go back to the simplest system, which is the Eskimo type."

Prior to The Genius of Kinship, the nomenclature and typology of kinship types was messy, old-fashioned and inadequate. People still tend to use terms such as "Eskimo" (or Lineal), "Hawaiian" (or Generational), "Iroquois" (or Bifurcate Merging) and "Arabic" ("Sudanic" for Ego generation) (or Bifurcate Collateral) plus some others such as "Omaha" and "Crow."

It's widely believed that "Eskimo" and "Hawaiian" are derived types. They are derived by one or two point structural changes from Bifurcate Merging. This is widely attested in different language families. "Hawaiian" is also very simple (father, father's brother and mother's brother are called by the same term). This simplicity made the 19th century founder of kinship studies, L. H. Morgan, to declare "Hawaiian" as the most ancient type, which is wrong.

What I observed in my sample is that "Hawaiian" can be old if it's found in Ego generation and is associated with sibling type G-8, while Bifurcate Collateral can be old if it's found in parents/children's generation and is associated with Alternate Generation equivalences.

My typology of kinship types shifts the emphasis from horizontal, intragenerational splits and mergers to cross-generational and sex and gender-based splits and mergers. The introduction and systematic tracking of these additional parameters and the patterns of linkage between horizontal and vertical splits and mergers led to a better resolution of worldwide kin terminological variation.

It's also widely believed that "Eskimo" and "Hawaiian" types are associated with bilineal and ambilineal kin reckoning and group recruitment that sometimes replace patrilineal vs. martrilineal (rather late and derived from bilateral) systems and sometimes continue directly from early bilateral systems. This area is a bit fuzzy and I prefer to track kinship changes by terminological clues. However there seems to be a tendency in the literature to find bilateral systems outside of Africa (India, pre-Austronesian Papua New Guinea and Amazonia as the best exemplars), while patrilineal, matrilineal and ambilineal/bilineal in Africa, Europe and Austronesian Oceania.

Maju said...

The Basque pattern you mention is unique in Europe. Indo-European languages don't have anything of this sort.

No wonder. But they are rather new in Europe, at least west of the Volga. I say because it's kind of a commonplace to make generalizations for the continent based on Indoeuropean concepts, when those languages and cultural concepts are essentially recent, post-Neolithic, arrivals.

The closest parallels in Eurasia are found in Kartvelian languages (the most divergent one, Svan, has an exact structural match to the Basque pattern) and in Burushaski. This type is rare worldwide, too, and constitutes one of the several offshoots of another type that makes more intricate distinctions than the Basque language but is in principle the same.

Ok, thanks. Very interesting.

Does it really matter what words we use if there is no legal or otherwise social implication?

Do primates have kinship systems?

They at least know who is their mother and often their syblings. Among bonobos the mother-child relation is the only one that implies a sexual taboo, so it does have real life implications, even if it has no "name" we know of. So the answer is yes up to a very basic point - but a very basic point that is probably the same as with humans... or very similar.

You can check out the whole phylogeny on my website. I believe I posted it there.

I missed it, can you repost?

Prior to The Genius of Kinship, the nomenclature and typology of kinship types was messy, old-fashioned and inadequate. People still tend to use terms such as "Eskimo" (or Lineal), "Hawaiian" (or Generational), "Iroquois" (or Bifurcate Merging) and "Arabic" ("Sudanic" for Ego generation) (or Bifurcate Collateral) plus some others such as "Omaha" and "Crow".

And they still do after it. Just check Wikipedia for a reference...

Most people has not read your book and/or thinks you are very mislead. So it does sound kind of egomaniac to say "before my book people used to...", when nearly nobody seems to be interested in it anyhow.

This simplicity made the 19th century founder of kinship studies, L. H. Morgan, to declare "Hawaiian" as the most ancient type, which is wrong.

Take note that at least we can argue an African origin also based on kinship and using nothing less than Morgan to justify it. It's pretty comforting to know we are on the same side as the founder of your discipline.

My typology of kinship types shifts the emphasis from horizontal, intragenerational splits and mergers to cross-generational and sex and gender-based splits and mergers.

That is very interesting. Maybe if you had a blog explaining all that, like Victor does, we could visit and make criticisms there too. And learn something too, of course.

For instance I wonder if this cross-generational emphasis does not belong to a more advanced stage where structures as clan and tribe are already being formalized, rather than just existing (or maybe not even existing at all yet) spontaneously without any legal implications.

It's also widely believed that "Eskimo" and "Hawaiian" types are associated with bilineal and ambilineal kin reckoning and group recruitment that sometimes replace patrilineal vs. martrilineal [systems].

However I have the heartbeat that ambilineality and open group recruitment are natural in humans. And probably recurrent too.

In this we can't follow our cousins Pan spp., because bonobos are matrilineal and chimpanzees somewhat patrilineal. So the ancestral answer is still a question mark.

However I am not sure I realize which is the difference between bilaterality, bilineality and ambilineality. I can only understand the difference between patri-, matri- and both.

But we are hijacking Victor's post with all this, I fear. :(

DocG said...

German: "Your reasoning problem is self-contradictions, which stems from attitudinal hedging. For instance, you've declared, on a number of occasions, your dissociation from evolutionism as a theory of development from simple to complex. In your most recent comment you used the word "develop" several times, e.g. "Kinship terminology had to begin at some point or at least develop from something prior to it that was NOT it" or "Kinship among these same groups does not appear to be very developed at all."

Thank you, German. You may not have noticed it but this is the FIRST instance I can recall where you have offered a criticism of something specific.

What you call hedging, I call covering all bases and trying to do justice to all points of view. Which is why I've spent so much time and energy on Liazos and Grinker (and also the revisionists in my earlier posts on the Kalahari debate). You are free to disagree with my conclusions but you can't deny that I've made an effort to present opposing viewpoints.

As for "development" you have once again misread me. I am not opposed to the notion of evolutionary development per se, but only to the notion that development from simple to complex is necessarily always the case.

When we consider P/B, it seems clear that it is more complex and "developed" than just about any other musical style until we reach Renaissance church music in Europe. However, it is far more complex than the primate vocalizing that must have preceded it, and so it's not difficult to see that some process of "development" must have taken place between primate duetting, chorusing and hooting and P/B. I take this into account in earlier posts and in fact discuss it at some length.

You see a contradiction because you prefer to read me only in the most simplistic terms. That is your problem, not mine.

"I haven't seen any reasons why Khoisan and Pygmy music implies common origin between two populations. They are similar from your perspective. Very good. But in comparativism and cladistics there're several explanations for similarities between traits. They could be result of borrowing. they could be result of random retention (plesiomorphy). They could be result of convergence. They could be result of an early substratum effect (e.g., Pygmies when they moved into the tropical forest displaced some relatives of Khoisans but appropriated their style of singing)."

I discuss all the above possibilities at some length in various published papers, especially my "Echoes" paper, which you've read. Feel free to disagree but don't accuse me of neglecting such basic issues. I most certainly have NOT neglected them.

German said...

"Take note that at least we can argue an African origin also based on kinship and using nothing less than Morgan to justify it. It's pretty comforting to know we are on the same side as the founder of your discipline."

"Hawaiian" has worldwide presence, and the earliest offshoot of the human tree, according to genetics, namely Khoisan don't have Hawaiian. The very name assigned to it by Morgan is taken from a population of a very recent origin. But in combination with the G-8 sibling set it's absent in Africa but widely present in America.

"Most people has not read your book and/or thinks you are very mislead. So it does sound kind of egomaniac to say "before my book people used to...", when nearly nobody seems to be interested in it anyhow."

I use "I" only for simplicity sake. The problem is that kinship studies has gone out of favor, and there're very few scholars who actually know this stuff. Most sadly, very few geneticists know it. It would've helped them look at the molecular level of variation more as an issue of historical demography, than as a computer game.

German said...

"I discuss all the above possibilities at some length in various published papers, especially my "Echoes" paper, which you've read. Feel free to disagree but don't accuse me of neglecting such basic issues. I most certainly have NOT neglected them."

Nope. You THINK you didn't neglect them. A rundown of your logic as applied to everything from stature to music indicates that you don't have a theory of how to tease apart borrowings, common descent, independent innovation, evolution from simple to complex, and the disintegration of ancestral culture traits.

German said...

Luis,

A phylogeny of sibling types can be found at http://kinshipstudies.org/?page_id=5. You'll see a link in the text.

As parts of my book are now available through Google Books, you can read a bit around it.

http://books.google.com/books?id=1yo14jYY3pYC&dq=genius+kinship&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=1PTMBNBFzN&sig=4H2AcaIXzJ8REeLXgGxP8iOVHsA&hl=en&ei=77L8SqfGNsmnlAfwkviBBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CBgQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Maju said...

Nope. You THINK you didn't neglect them.

I also think he did not neglect them but rather analyzed and discussed them in depth.

A phylogeny of sibling types can be found at http://kinshipstudies.org/?page_id=5. You'll see a link in the text.

Found it, thanks. On first sight, I have the impression that the tree could perfectly be inverted with the A(1) system on top.

In any case, I am surprised you have never mentioned how brutally huge is the diversity of kinship systems in Africa. So much for your theory...

"Hawaiian" has worldwide presence, and the earliest offshoot of the human tree, according to genetics, namely Khoisan don't have Hawaiian.

They use Eskimo, right?

As I said before, Eskimo and Hawaiian are very similar, just that Eskimo is more detailed (or Hawaiian more simplified). Both seem natural expressions of natural kinship relations, though probably Eskimo is more natural (though less simple).

These terms are anyhow more like a development of languages, unless they also have a socio-legal value. They may have evolved and devolved many times in human history, with the Eskimo system in particular being the recurrent reference point (as is the one that is both properly descriptive and simple: the natural or logical basic system). The Hawaiian system seems a "simplification" of the Eskimo one (as it requires to obviate that maternal aunts, formal genitors, are not one's biological mother, the real genitor: a well known fact for all).

Concepts like "brother of both male and female" also happen in Basque but for the peculiarities of the Basque language (or its kinship system, what is about the same), a circumloquium must be used like "how many sons do your (pl.) parents have?"

The problem is that kinship studies has gone out of favor, and there're very few scholars who actually know this stuff. Most sadly, very few geneticists know it.

Well, I'm more concerned about them knowing some real archaeology and prehistory - which has been a real problem at times. You cannot deal with prehistory ignoring archaeology - from any point of view.

German said...

"I also think he did not neglect them but rather analyzed and discussed them in depth."

Being in agreement doesn't mean being right. Victor rejects older theories that derived polyphony from monophony or heterophony because it's all about going from simple to complex, but then he does admit that P/B mus have emerged from more simple ways of vocalizing or instrumentalizing. These earlier pre-P/B forms apparently are not attested anywhere in extant human musical traditions because they got forgotten right before modern humans diverged into African vs. non-African populations. However all the actually attested "primitive" forms (that other musicologists such as Nettle or Sachs hypothesized as leading to P/B) don't qualify as pre-P/B because genetics shows that Pygmies and Khoisans are ancestral to all other populations. This kind of reasoning is methodologically flawed because a hypothesis derived from a different discipline isn't tested against musical evidence but is used as a carte blanche to entertain an inductive bias on a worldwide scale.

German said...

"They use Eskimo, right?"

Only one group does. Otherwise, they are Bifurcate Merging.

German said...

"Does it really matter what words we use if there is no legal or otherwise social implication?"

Not sure I understand what you mean. Can you re-phrase it?

German said...

"On first sight, I have the impression that the tree could perfectly be inverted with the A(1) system on top.

In any case, I am surprised you have never mentioned how brutally huge is the diversity of kinship systems in Africa. So much for your theory..."

African kinship systems are more diverse than European but less diverse than Asian, Australo-Melanesian or American. Most importantly, all the ancestral clades are missing from Africa.

Could this phylogeny be reversed? Obviously I've given it some thought. There're at least 4 reasons why it cannot be reversed: 1) empirical. The history of evolution of sibling sets in Austronesian languages is well-known and all their A types are derived from type 10. There was a big discussion about it among linguists and anthropologists in the 1970s and 1980s. Research on Niger-Congo is ongoing (look up Jeff Marck) but again it looks like 10 is original there, while A is derived; 2) in terms of "cognitive economy" (see Hedican) the progressive addition of distinctions/splits from A to G-8 is less probable than their deletion/merger; 3) distributionally, A is sporadically found on all continents, which is suggestive of independent evolution from more differentiated forms. The top clades of the current phylogeny, however, have a clear concentration in coastal Asia, America and PNG, with several offshoots among Munda and Dravidians in India and no offshoots in Sub-Saharan Africa. This distribution is non-random. It's hardly likely that people migrating out of Africa would constantly and ostensibly purposefully add distinctions to their sibling sets, especially as they migrate into America. The progressive merger of those categorical splits, on the other hand, seems to mirror population splits nicely; 4) Sibling types are found in linkage with other patterns of kinship classification. A splits into AA ('mother's child' 'father's child'), AAAA ('mother's son, mother's daughter, father's son, father's daughter), which are related to other "descriptive" (compounds that literally mean 'father's brother's son', etc.) formations and reflect the pervasive presence of polygyny in Africa. Descriptive compounds are widely considered recent (by everyone from Morgan to linguist Chris Ehret).

There are two potential problems with this phylogeny: reticulations potentially caused by the mutual influence of morphophonetics on semantics and the lack of direct reconstructions for most language families.

German said...

"Well, I'm more concerned about them knowing some real archaeology and prehistory - which has been a real problem at times. You cannot deal with prehistory ignoring archaeology - from any point of view."

There's no ignoring going on on my part. But there's a lot of ignoring coming from geneticists and archaeologists. Sometimes they ignore each other, sometimes they team up to ignore linguistics, but all of them tend to ignore kinship studies.

German said...

"Concepts like "brother of both male and female" also happen in Basque but for the peculiarities of the Basque language (or its kinship system, what is about the same), a circumloquium must be used like "how many sons do your (pl.) parents have?""

Can you please re-phrase and elaborate on it? I'm not sure I understand but sounds intriguing.

German said...

"The top clades of the current phylogeny, however, have a clear concentration in coastal Asia, America and PNG, with several offshoots among Munda and Dravidians in India and no offshoots in Sub-Saharan Africa."

Corrigendum: "The top clades of the current phylogeny, however, have a clear concentration in coastal Asia and PNG, all over America, plus in India, among Munda and Dravidians. They are not attested in Sub-Saharan Africa."

Just worried that "offshoots" would be confusing. Sub-Saharan Africa, of course, has derived offshoots of those ancestral clades.

Maju said...

"Does it really matter what words we use if there is no legal or otherwise social implication?"

Not sure I understand what you mean. Can you re-phrase it?
-

What's the point of making such a fuzz about the names of relatives? It could be meaningful if these names had social or legal implications but most often they do not.

Maju said...

Most importantly, all the ancestral clades are missing from Africa.

I must ask you a question you asked me not long ago: how do you root a tree?

I feel you have double standards.

Maju said...

Can you please re-phrase and elaborate on it? I'm not sure I understand but sounds intriguing.

Same as before: that we can't say "Jone and Jane: your brother..." doesn't mean that we don't understand that Matthew is equally related to both. It's just a language limitation and has no other implications.

Maju said...

distributionally, A is sporadically found on all continents, which is suggestive of independent evolution from more differentiated forms.

Or rather that is a pervivence.

It's hardly likely that people migrating out of Africa would constantly and ostensibly purposefully add distinctions to their sibling sets, especially as they migrate into America.

That's exactly what I understand they did. Japanese and the like are too much into ceremonies and formalities not to do precisely that thing. But the common of mortals, at least in the West, instinctively would avoid that.

So I think it's a clear oriental trait, detached from the occidental mindset, whose virtue is precisely to avoid unnecesary complexity and go direct to the point.

Whether I'm correct or not, it's clear that the Eurasian humankind branched, surely in South Asia, into eastern and western groups (plus the Australasian ones, which are surely more related to easterners than to westerners but probably are a third branch on their own right) and that should be a node in the evolution of kinship systems.

A node that, like the African root I see nowhere in your graphs.

These earlier pre-P/B forms apparently are not attested anywhere in extant human musical traditions because they got forgotten right before modern humans diverged into African vs. non-African populations.

Well, there are many million years of evolution before H. sapiens arose and no one alive of those times to sing for us in their pre-P/B style.

But anyhow, I understand that Victor makes his case of direct evolution from ape choruses to P/B without any "simple" intermediates. So I believe you misunderstood him in that: he's saying that P/B is "simple" in humans because it is directly derived from ape "music".

Where's your ape kinship root, German?

German said...

"Or rather that is a pervivence."

I assume you mean "survival." Changes from Bifurcate Collateral to Lineal and from "Hawaiian" to Lineal are well attested, but not the other way around.

"I must ask you a question you asked me not long ago: how do you root a tree?

I feel you have double standards."

There's only a limited number of theoretically possible types of sibling sets. Among them, only a couple of dozens are empirically attested. The number of variables involved in the construction of these sets is even smaller. You have 8-term sets vs. 1-term sets as extremes, with all others in-between. Rooting here is determined by the internal structure of the sibling set variation. In genetics, you don't know upfront which state (say, T or C at DYS199 in Y-DNA) was ancestral. However, even here phylogeography, as I suggested on a few occasions, doesn't favor out of Africa.

"So I think it's a clear oriental trait, detached from the occidental mindset, whose virtue is precisely to avoid unnecesary complexity and go direct to the point."

It's true that Asian kinship terminologies employ relative age everywhere creating quite bulky systems in which each Western category is split in two or sometimes 4. Relative sex, on the other hand, like in your Basque example, isn't very common in mainland Asia or in Europe but is concentrated on peripheries and in pockets such as Basque, Svan, or Burushaski. But, as the sibling phylogeny suggests, both parameters are reconstructible for the proto-human condition (Victor's HBC). Relative age just got "out of control" in Asia.

"A node that, like the African root I see nowhere in your graphs."

South Asia (as represented by Munda and Dravidians) is the westernmost outpost of some of the ancestral kinship forms better attested in America, Papua New Guinea and Australia. Europe (including the Caucasus, with some exception) and Africa are clearly separated from America and Australasia due to the depression of the ancestral categorical splits and the proliferation of derived splits. I can see how South India is connected to the East (comp. mt-DNA D lineages and Y-DNA Q lineages in India), but it's role in the evolution of Western forms of kinship is unclear to me. (The connection between Burushaski, Svan and Basque is an intriguing one, isn't?). I'll keep comparing my data with genetics, as we go along.

All African sibling variation, with the exception of Khoisans, comes from type 10, which is remarkably similar to type 10 found in PNG and South East Asia. Khoisans are a different animal, more akin to mainland/Northern Asians. I mentioned somewhere on this blog that Khoisan "clicks" due to their ingression could be the phoneticization of "throat singing" found in Ainu and Eskimo.

"Where's your ape kinship root, German?"

Well, there are many million years of evolution before H. sapiens arose. Ancient human kinship classification, apparently operated with such concrete demo-biological categories as relative sex, relative age, generation, birth, mating and death, and didn't have long genealogies and abstract kinship grades. This is as close to primates as I can get now. The reconstruction of ancient human dispersals is privileged by having a wealth of cultural evidence. The study of the evolution of other species doesn't have this advantage. I'm focusing on language, kinship and culture. At the end of the day, my theory derives Homo sapiens sapiens from Asian Homo erectus (comp. Wolpoff's and Habgood's "continuity traits" between Asians and American Indians, on the one hand, and Homo erectus, on the other) via speciation in America. As the archaeological record in America, Australasia and Asia becomes richer and better described, I'll be on a look-out for any archaeological and neurophysiological "continuity" traces of the ancestral human kinship system.

Maju said...

I assume you mean "survival." Changes from Bifurcate Collateral to Lineal and from "Hawaiian" to Lineal are well attested, but not the other way around.

Attested where and by whom? I don't think these changes happen in a lifetime, so it's nearly impossible to document them (unless it's change to the system of the European colonial masters, who use Eskimo kinship in nearly all cases).

In genetics, you don't know upfront which state (say, T or C at DYS199 in Y-DNA) was ancestral.

Yes, you know by comparison with chimp and bonobo genetics, for instance. It's as simple as that.

But even if you would not know, after you have described all sets and subsets (aka haplogroups, which are like Russian dolls), you have just two highest level sets (A and Y(xA) - in Y-DNA, L0 and L1''6 in mtDNA), so you know that the root is somewhere at the differences that define those highest level sets.

But let's talk kinship: You have 8-term sets vs. 1-term sets as extremes, with all others in-between. Rooting here is determined by the internal structure of the sibling set variation.

Sincerely, I find this logic self-complacent. I could get your tree of page five and pick it up from any of those neat boxes and say arbitrarily: "this is the root", as all arrows can be reversed, quite obviously.

Also you should avoid duplications: I find all three systems on top to be the same one, so you are artificially increasing the number of systems in order to give greater alleged diversity to America. Actually this triple system is nothing but the combination of the D and 8 systems, so it's a combined creation and not a true basic system. Type 10 can also be considered that super-type where age and gender considerations are blended.

I'm not going to rewrite your theory as I don't think Kinship stuides are scientific enough to provide any clear answer to anything on their own, but I still have the feeling that either A (1) or E are the basic ones.

South Asia (as represented by Munda and Dravidians).

It's widely believed that the Munda are originally SE Asian, maybe arrived to India in Neolithic. They belong in an case to the Austroasiatic linguistic family, which is essentially SE Asian. Burushaski could be a better South Asian reference. Whatever the case I can't find the Munda listed anywhere - my bad surely.

But it's really interesting that Dravidian and Burushaski stand at the two (ageist/sexist) subsystems' nodes that seem to have converged to form the complex oriental systems.

So I would describe the kinship tree as:

[root] A(1) <-> E

[Dravidian branch] E -> B(2) -> D

[Burushaski branch] E -> 8

[Oriental fusion] D + 8 -> (I(9) + G-6 + G-8).

I am intently ignoring those that use parallel/cross systems and the AA and AAAA systems because they seem peculiar branches and therefore quite irrelevant for the overall picture.

(continues)

Maju said...

(cont.)

All African sibling variation, with the exception of Khoisans, comes from type 10, which is remarkably similar to type 10 found in PNG and South East Asia.

I don't think type 10 is central but marginal. You could well say that they derive from the A(1)<>E root. Type 10 is clearly derived from the 8 or 3 systems, or maybe a fussion of both. However (and assuming it's properly described) it seems to indicate either:

a) A quite direct Africa->Australasia migration

b) A back-migration from Eurasia into Africa (and later loss of the type in Eurasia)

c) Independent development in both regions

As you can see, kinship diversity can easily be explained within the OOA paradigm, once we make some basic clean up.

Well, there are many million years of evolution before H. sapiens arose. Ancient human kinship classification, apparently operated with such concrete demo-biological categories as relative sex, relative age, generation, birth, mating and death, and didn't have long genealogies and abstract kinship grades. This is as close to primates as I can get now.

I disagree. You and I agree that apes have non-verbal kinship structures that include concepts such as mother and sibling. I postulate that the generalist concept: "sibling" (i.e. your A(1) type) is ancestral and rooted in the hominid experience.

Therefore my reverse-theory of A(1) being ancestral to all other types is confirmed. Q.E.D.

...

By the way, I think that your use of our discussions here and at Dienekes' blog for the promotion of your book (just saw that) is not justified and probably breaches copyright (and is in any case rather pathetic) and I would ask you to remove them from your site. Thanks.

German said...

"By the way, I think that your use of our discussions here and at Dienekes' blog for the promotion of your book (just saw that) is not justified and probably breaches copyright (and is in any case rather pathetic) and I would ask you to remove them from your site."

I don't care how your perverted mind perceives the rather innocent links to the discussions in which I was a participant.

"Actually this triple system is nothing but the combination of the D and 8 systems, so it's a combined creation and not a true basic system."

"Therefore my reverse-theory of A(1) being ancestral to all other types is confirmed."

Your problem, Luis, is that you think your opinion is invested with the power of divine knowledge. What you outlined is, of course, a possibility (like anything else) and I mulled over it at some point but there's no evidence for such a merger. It requires the postulation of a unique event, unlike my current theory which describes a systematic process of categorical mergers. Archaeology can deal with unique finds (such as a Cromagnon-Neanderthal cross), evidence coming from modern populations (kinship systems and genetics included) is systematic or it's nothing.

"Type 10 can also be considered that super-type where age and gender considerations are blended."

So now you want type 10 to be the product of hybridization, too. There's strong evidence coming from Austronesian languages that type 10 gave rise to type A but there's no evidence whatsoever for these hybridizations. In any case, you would need to have type 8 (Basque) and type D to be there originally. But then where did they come from? They were invented by A-people and E-people? Again, I explained to why this is implausible and contradicts empirical evidence.

"You and I agree that apes have non-verbal kinship structures that include concepts such as mother and sibling. I postulate that the generalist concept: "sibling" (i.e. your A(1) type) is ancestral and rooted in the hominid experience."

You just made it up.

"It's widely believed that the Munda are originally SE Asian, maybe arrived to India in Neolithic. They belong in an case to the Austroasiatic linguistic family, which is essentially SE Asian."

It's narrowly believed by you, Luis.
Read this: "Y-chromosome evidence suggests a common paternal heritage of Austro-Asiatic populations" by Kumar et al., which says "The results also indicate that the haplogroup O-M95 had originated in the Indian Austro-Asiatic populations ~65,000 yrs BP and their ancestors carried it further to Southeast Asia via the Northeast Indian corridor."

Kinshipwise, Munda languages stand out against the Mon-Khmer branch as having all the necessary ancestral traits to suggest a migration into South-East Asia.

"Attested where and by whom? I don't think these changes happen in a lifetime, so it's nearly impossible to document them."

Kinship theorists track recorded changes in various language families, using written sources and linguistics' comparative method. The Bifurcate Collateral > Lineal transition is widely attested, including IE languages (Polish, e.g., shifted to Lineal only after World War II). The reverse process is NOT attested.

"[root] A(1) <-> E

[Dravidian branch] E -> B(2) -> D

[Burushaski branch] E -> 8

[Oriental fusion] D + 8 -> (I(9) + G-6 + G-8)."

You just derived most of the world from Indo-Europeans. Congratulations!

I find this exchange useful because it gives me an idea of how the mind of a staunch out-of-Africanist works. Plus I did forget to put Munda on that tree (I9), or maybe the data came in after the tree had been created. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

German said...

Forgot to mention: Sandawe are type 8 and Khoisans are mostly type B and C, which are derived from D by one- and two-point changes. This means that African outliers already have relative age and relative sex in them. Outside of Africa we find systems in which these variables are more consistently developed, and there's more variation in the ways in which relative sex and relative age are implemented.

German said...

"But even if you would not know, after you have described all sets and subsets (aka haplogroups, which are like Russian dolls), you have just two highest level sets (A and Y(xA) - in Y-DNA, L0 and L1''6 in mtDNA), so you know that the root is somewhere at the differences that define those highest level sets."

Sibling sets are also like Russian dolls, with more differentiated sets (G8, D, 10, etc.) lexicalizing all categorical present in less differentiated sets (A, B, C, etc.).

"It's widely believed that the Munda are originally SE Asian, maybe arrived to India in Neolithic."

Another comment on that: for comparison, the Brahmaputran branch of Sino-Tibetan is now considered to be the earliest branch of this family. It's restricted to India. It's precisely in the Brahmaputran branch that I find some of the better attested proto-Sino-Tibetan kinship forms. So, South Asia does look like a key area from the point of view of historical linguistics, with Dravidian, Munda and Brahmaputran and Burushaski as isolates or outliers.

"Yes, you know by comparison with chimp and bonobo genetics, for instance. It's as simple as that."

How many millions of years have elapsed since the human-ape split? There could have been several instances of transitions (more probable) and transversions (less probable) at these sites. The mtDNA and Y-DNA trees are flawed in their definition of top clades. That's why we end with a situation when L3 isn't found outside of Africa, while the earliest offshoots of M and N aren't found in Africa. Notable, Peter Underhill started his phylogenetic research into Y-DNA (see "A pre-Columbian Y chromosome-specific transition and its implications for human evolutionary history" from 1996) by using American Indian sequences to establish what the root of the tree was NOT. This is because geneticists half-consciously use the stereotype of American Indian recency as a way to lead to the antiquity of Africans.

Maju said...

Your problem, Luis, is that you think your opinion is invested with the power of divine knowledge.

I fear it's not only my problem...

What you outlined is, of course, a possibility...

A possibility that would conciliate kinship studies with the rest of prehistorical sciences.

So now you want type 10 to be the product of hybridization, too.

It is two systems in one, right?

You would need to have type 8 (Basque) and type D to be there originally. But then where did they come from? -

You are the expert but for what I can see, types 8 and D are both present among Papuans and generally in SE Asia (Austroasiatic, Austronesian). So it does not look particularly difficult.

In Africa it might be a product of back-migration or whatever. I presume that kinship systems can also go extinct, like languages, right?

You just made it up.

I just discovered it and I'm going to write a book titled "The Kinship of Genius" where I demolish your theories.

Well, I won't because I don't care. But I should indeed. :D

It's narrowly believed by you, Luis.

Not really. I have this information from Indians interested in anthropology and prehistory.

And it's logical because the Austroasiatic languages are essentially found in SE Asia and only the Munda branch exists out of that region. SE Asians (including NE Indians) and South Asians are genetically quite different and the Munda are quite high in SE Asian Y-DNA haplogroups, notably O2, though the female lineages are similar to those of other Indians.

This comes to mean that the Munda migrated (in a male dominated flow) to South Asia some time in the past. Not to far in the past because otherwise their adscription to the Austroasiatic family will not exist. Neolithic is very likely, associated with the arrival of rice probably.

Read this: "Y-chromosome evidence suggests a common paternal heritage of Austro-Asiatic populations" by Kumar et al., which says "The results also indicate that the haplogroup O-M95 had originated in the Indian Austro-Asiatic populations ~65,000 yrs BP and their ancestors carried it further to Southeast Asia via the Northeast Indian corridor".

Nobody that I know of with an interest in genetics can believe that. Haplogroup O is most diverse in Eastern Asia and the debate is between the ones like me who claim a SE Asian origin (O1 and O2 at least look of that origin) and the sinocentrists who claim a more northern origin. What you quoted is just Kumar's opinion, which can be said to be indocentric and baseless.

In any case it's just impossible that the Austroasiatic linguistic family would have survived for 65,000 years, which is in essence the time of human presence in Eurasia.


Polish, e.g., shifted to Lineal only after World War II.

That's interesting because it may mean that not all Indoeuropean languages used Lineal kinship. However it is a clear example of the process I suggested of adopting the dominant imperial system, the one of dominant European languages, like English, French, Russian or Spanish. A colonial shift towards the masters' logic.

You just derived most of the world from Indo-Europeans. Congratulations! -

I don't think I did. System E is found among other groups.

However the criticism is still valid because all these groups are from West Eurasia and Northern Africa and you don't really need E to explain B(2).

The Dravidian Branch genealogy (revised) would in fact be:

A(1) -> B(2) -> D.

B(2) is global, so guess it's better that way.

(continues)

Maju said...

(cont.)

Plus I did forget to put Munda on that tree (I9)...

Which is consistent with their language being derived from Austronesian (D) and suggestive of a Burushaski system (and language superfamily??) maybe dominating North India before their arrival.

A possibility is that they would have taken their D half system from the Asutronesian males and the other half system (8) from the native Indian females. But they could have arrived with the whole system too, as it's present in their likely original areas, like those inhabited now by Burmese and other Sino-Tibetan speakers. More intriguing is how it arrived to the Tulu.

Sibling sets are also like Russian dolls, with more differentiated sets (G8, D, 10, etc.) lexicalizing all categorical present in less differentiated sets (A, B, C, etc.).

I don't see it. System A does not need of any of the others, the others are developments (refinements if you wish) of system A.

... the Brahmaputran branch of Sino-Tibetan is...

Sino-Tibetan may even not be a real linguistic family.

The mtDNA and Y-DNA trees are flawed in their definition of top clades.

We have discussed it a zillion times and it's clear that they are correct. All sub-haplogroups have the defining mutations of their upstream haplogroups. If you find this is not true, please contact a professional geneticist, who will surely find that interesting. So far you have not documented your stubborn claims.

Being stubborn like a mule is not the same as being right.

German said...

"A possibility that would conciliate kinship studies with the rest of prehistorical sciences."

It would reconcile kinship studies with Multiregional evolution. Type D concentrated in the North collided with type 8 found sporadically everywhere, and type 10 and type G emerged from this hybridization. If geneticists abandon Single-Origin in favor of Multiregional, I will give this possibility another thought. But even at face value, "hybrid" type 10 is more frequent around the globe than "pure" type 8.

"That's interesting because it may mean that not all Indoeuropean languages used Lineal kinship."

Bifurcate Lineal is more likely for proto-Indo-European with shifts to Lineal occurring independently in different branches at different times.

"I don't think I did. System E is found among other groups."

Trust me, type E, the pattern we're most used to, namely "brother" and "sister," is only most prevalent among Indo-Europeans and otherwise rare worldwide. In the Kartvelian family, the three most recent languages have type E, while the most divergent language, Svan, has type 8.

"I don't see it. System A does not need of any of the others, the others are developments (refinements if you wish) of system A."

This is where you approach the problem from a primitive evolutionist perspective: from simple to complex. Victor has problems with it methodologically (his P/B style also "conflates" all other styles), and here Victor and I agree. Morgan, as a famous 19th century evolutionist, used the same logic when he thought "Hawaiian" was original because it operates with only one term for father, father's brother and mother's brother. How much more simple can it get?

As we discussed, the ancestrality of "Hawaiian" has been challenged many times and is now abandoned. It's abandoned not because it's technically impossible but because all historical evidence contradicts it. The same can be said for A and E.

Where I disagree with Victor is that his P/B style is NOT the most complex musical style. I believe instrumental polyphony is PNG and South America is more complex because it "conflates" another level of musical system, namely the dual social structure of a musical ensemble. In South America, instruments and performers represent and symbolize different moieties. This feature is absent among Pygmies and Bushmen, although traces of dual organization are found in East Africa.

Returning to kinship, kinship terminologies exhibit a complementary simplification trend as well. Many African systems, as well as the systems found in the Caucasus and among Indo-Europeans (again "The Occident") classify cousins in a very differentiated way. You can have as many as 8 terms for cousins: "father's brother's son", "mother's brother's son", "father's sister's son", "mother's sister's son", "father's brother's daughter", "father's sister's daughter", "mother's brother's daughter", "mother's sister's daughter." In the "Orient" cousins are classified in a very simple way. it's either "Hawaiian" (parallel cousins, cross-cousins and siblings are called by one term) or Bifurcate Merging (siblings are identified with parallel cousins but differentiated from cross cousins).

In this case, evolution again went from the Oriental to the Occidental cousin sets. Only empirical evidence, like the one myself and people before me processed, can determine which complexity is ancestral and which one is derived. Your mistake is in trying to nail it at a glance.

German said...

"Haplogroup O is most diverse in Eastern Asia and the debate is between the ones like me who claim a SE Asian origin (O1 and O2 at least look of that origin) and the sinocentrists who claim a more northern origin. What you quoted is just Kumar's opinion, which can be said to be indocentric and baseless."

What I found interesting in Kumar's article is the connection he makes between (his interpretation of) genetics and linguistics:

"This scenario [out of India] is also consistent with the inference that Mundari language is grammatically and phonologically the most conservative branch of the Austro-Asiatic family [2,38] and more similar to proto-Austroasiatics than the other branches of this family."

The greatest diversity of Austroasiatic languages is in India and Burma. Read Diffloth on this.

I can clearly see how their language is conservative because their kinship systems are. And Sino-Tibetan languages show exactly the same pattern: Brahmaputran vs. the rest. Nobody doubts the reality of Sino-Tibetan, but in the past 20 years linguists abandoned the old segmentation of Sinitic vs. the rest and replaced it with Brahmaputran vs. the rest.

We may be dealing here with a "hung jury" situation, and van Driem states that the issue is unresolved. Kinship evidence favors India/Burma as a source of Austroasiatic. On the other hand, the overall movement of populations, according to out of America was from east to west. This means that India at some point was peopled from Northeast or South east Asia. This, however, happened much earlier than the split within the Austroasiatic family.

"We have discussed it a zillion times and it's clear that they are correct. All sub-haplogroups have the defining mutations of their upstream haplogroups. If you find this is not true, please contact a professional geneticist, who will surely find that interesting."

Believe me, I talked to many of them. And remember, I worked closely with some of them at the Stanford Genetics Lab. All of them were rather intimidated by my ability to point out all the holes in their theories and then use their own data to show consistency with linguistics and kinship. Geneticists, who had never looked at the worldwide variation historically until mtDNA was sequenced, had very rich diachronic data suddenly falling on their lap. In order to cope with it they had to work from a few assumptions just to get the job done and report back on the use of the huge grants allocated to them by the sponsoring agencies.

German said...

Caveat: In the above passages, the use of the terms "complex" and "simple" may be confusing. These are relative terms. They are only useful as heuristics pointing to the structural properties of ancestral vs. derived forms of kinship, language or music. The gradual loss of ancestral structures and the gradual buildup of derived structues creates an impression of either "simplification" or "evolution from simple to complex."

Maju said...

What I found interesting in Kumar's article is the connection he makes between (his interpretation of) genetics and linguistics.

Baltic languages are also the most conservative of IE but nobody believes them to be at the origin, just better preserved by relative isolation.

Diversity is key and diversity in AA is all in SE Asia. Just as with haplogroup O or at least the relevant subclades of it.

Nobody doubts the reality of Sino-Tibetan...

From Wikipedia: "A few scholars, most prominently Christopher Beckwith and Roy Andrew Miller, argue that Chinese is not related to Tibeto-Burman. They point to an absence of regular sound correspondences, an absence of reconstructable shared morphology,[2] and evidence that much shared lexical material has been borrowed from Chinese into Tibeto-Burman".

Some do indeed.

but in the past 20 years linguists abandoned the old segmentation of Sinitic vs. the rest and replaced it with Brahmaputran vs. the rest.

As far as I can see only van Driem mentions Brahmaputran as a distinct subfamily (i.e. distinct from Tibeto-Burman) but not at the origins.

I really can't say but you're buying on a line of thought and re-selling it as "the new paradigm". I feel that my intelligence is being insulted by such tricks.

Believe me...

I don't.

There are hundreds, or rather thousands of research papers on human phylogenetics by now and I know for a fact that your knowledge of human population genetics is very much obsolete and that you are terribly stubborn and unable to acknowledge simple facts such as mtDNA M and N belonging to the greater set named L3 - just because they clash with your pre-conceptions.

Maybe you knew more of genetics than me in the mid-90s but today I know a lot more. And certainly geneticists through the world do too. Even radical rethinkers like Andrew Lancaster found the basic "African" phylogeny immutable to his challenges.

German Dziebel said...

"So my sister is arreba but for my other sister she is ahizpa, and the same happens with brothers (anai and neba)."

This is Bizkaian system. In all other dialects, anai is brother for both a man and a woman. This is a first step towards reducing type 8 to type E.

Maju said...

But even at face value, "hybrid" type 10 is more frequent around the globe than "pure" type 8.

Not following your graph: it's restricted to the SE Eurasian region (SE Asia and Australasia) and some African groups. No presence in America or Europe, like type 8. However this type is not found in Africa.

Another possibility here could be that it's derived from type 3. Admittedly I haven't studied the matter enough but I still think that your notes offer a lot of possibilities and that your interpretation is just one among many possible.

I also think that, based on primates, the simple "sybling" type (A) must be the origin, whatever the other correlations. However this can't exclude occasional "back-mutations" towards the simpler systems.

Bifurcate Lineal is more likely for proto-Indo-European with shifts to Lineal occurring independently in different branches at different times.

Sounds unlikely on first sight because it would imply too many parallel drifts, yet restricted to a single linguistic (and cultural) family. Even if occasional back-mutations in this simplifying direction should be common enough, that all languages of a linguistic family do the same in parallel is just statistically unconceivable.

This is where you approach the problem from a primitive evolutionist perspective: from simple to complex. Victor has problems with it methodologically...

You can't compare because they are apples and oranges. It's easy to see that our Pan cousins understand the concept of sibling and maybe the gender difference between brother and sister but they can't understand more complex systems. Instead ape "music" seems to be complex in Victor's P/B sense, which does not exclude that other musical styles can also be considered complex but more distant from the ape "musical" style.

So your objections are irrelevant or misplaced in this (and many other things).

German Dziebel said...

"A few scholars, most prominently Christopher Beckwith and Roy Andrew Miller, argue that Chinese is not related to Tibeto-Burman."

Okay, that's what you mean. I thought you were doubting the integrity of a system of phonology and morphology shared by dozens of branches comprising Tibeto-Burman. I should've double checked what you had in mind.

"As far as I can see only van Driem mentions Brahmaputran as a distinct subfamily (i.e. distinct from Tibeto-Burman) but not at the origins."

Van Driem would be enough. But there're others, including Bradley. They just call it Sal. The most divergent branch is always considered to be at or near origins.

"There are hundreds, or rather thousands of research papers on human phylogenetics by now and I know for a fact that your knowledge of human population genetics is very much obsolete and that you are terribly stubborn and unable to acknowledge simple facts such as mtDNA M and N belonging to the greater set named L3 - just because they clash with your pre-conceptions.

Maybe you knew more of genetics than me in the mid-90s but today I know a lot more."

There 1200 languages subsumed under the term "Austronesian." But they are all similar and derive from a single language that was spoken relatively recently. Same with "intellectual languages": all these genetics papers are built on the same assumptions ("pre-conceptions" in your terminology), they have a shallow intellectual depth and drop off weekly from a conveyor line, as new Ph.D. students struggle to enter the job market.

If you think you know more about genetics than I do, go to PhyloTree and rearrange the mtDNA phylogeny to make it more consistent with linguistics and kinship studies. I'll give you a tip: African L3 lineages are derived from some "western" N lineages and some "western" M lineages (M1 found in India and the Caucasus). African L1 and L2 (or you can use the more recent notation system) are derived from "eastern" M and N lineages, including C, D, A, X and B. lineages)

Just perform this exercise and then let me know what worked and what didn't.

Maju said...

This is Bizkaian system. In all other dialects, anai is brother for both a man and a woman. This is a first step towards reducing type 8 to type E.

No. This is standard Basque and, as far as I know, the same in all dialects. Standard Basque is not based in Bizkaiera but in Gipuzkera and Lapurtera, which are the historical literary dialects and also the largest ones of the central group of dialects.

I checked my dictionary for the case it'd be any exception (which would be noted) but there are not.

Maju said...

Okay, that's what you mean. I thought you were doubting the integrity of a system of phonology and morphology shared by dozens of branches comprising Tibeto-Burman.

I meant and wrote Sino-Tibetan. What is challenged is that Sinitic (Chinese) is related to Tibeto-Burman.

The most divergent branch is always considered to be at or near origins.

Really? I don't think it is the case. Nobody proposes Tocharian or Albanian as ancestral to Indoeuropean but just as early diverged branches.

If you think you know more about genetics than I do, go to PhyloTree and rearrange the mtDNA phylogeny to make it more consistent with linguistics and kinship studies

That would be absurd. First, I don't have any authority to do so and, second and most importantly, linguistic and kinship are irrelevant for genetics. Linguistics at least can only point to recent phenomenons and they are largely unrelated to genetics (languages are learned and lost, genes are not) and specially to female-line genetics.

German Dziebel said...

"Not following your graph: it's restricted to the SE Eurasian region (SE Asia and Australasia) and some African groups. No presence in America or Europe, like type 8. However this type is not found in Africa."

Type 10 is found in PNG (non-Austronesians), Southeast Asia (Austronesians), Oceania (Austronesians), among Eskimo-Aleut and Muskogean languages in America and in Niger-Congo (Mande, Bantu) and Nilo-Saharan (1 case) languages in Africa. Type 8 is found among Basque, Sandawe, Svan, Burushaski, Quechuan, Keresan. I guess they're equally common/uncommon but type 10 does look more frequent because it's a defining type for such large families as Austronesian and Niger-Congo. Among Eskimos, type 10 is rare next to more frequent G-6 (it's parent type). In PNG and Sino-Tibetan it's again found in association with type G-6/G-8.

The whole chapter is about sibling terminologies. You can get the details of distribution from there.

"Sounds unlikely on first sight because it would imply too many parallel drifts, yet restricted to a single linguistic (and cultural) family."

Yet, this is exactly what happened. All ancient languages, with the exception of Greek, are Bifurcate Lineal (comp. Latin pater 'father', patruus 'father's brother, avunculus 'mother's brother'). Parallel developments are very common in both kinship terminologies and languages writ large.

"You can't compare because they are apples and oranges. It's easy to see that our Pan cousins understand the concept of sibling and maybe the gender difference between brother and sister but they can't understand more complex systems. Instead ape "music" seems to be complex in Victor's P/B sense, which does not exclude that other musical styles can also be considered complex but more distant from the ape "musical" style."

I can't make out what you're trying to say here. How do you know what concepts apes understand? How come baboons now have complex music? In one of our recent exchanges, Victor admitted that P/B style must have evolved from a more simple form because primates don't have it.

In any case, type G, and its immediate derivatives all the way to types 10, 8, D, D and some others, presupposes the ability of a speaker identify his or her own sex and age with respect to those of the relative designated by the term. I don't how to gauge if primates have this awareness.

German Dziebel said...

"No. This is standard Basque and, as far as I know, the same in all dialects. Standard Basque is not based in Bizkaiera but in Gipuzkera and Lapurtera, which are the historical literary dialects and also the largest ones of the central group of dialects."

Trask writes: "In the historical period, B [Bizkaian] is alone among the dialects in possessing a word for ‘brother of a woman’ contrasting with anaia ‘brother of a man’; all other varieties use anaia in both senses." (Basque Etymological Dictionary). There's another source to the same effect, namely Araujo, Frank P. 1969. Three Models of Basque Kinship Terminology. M.A. thesis. University of California, Davis.

You may be right, as, I assume, you're a native speaker but please duble check.

German Dziebel said...

"Nobody proposes Tocharian or Albanian as ancestral to Indoeuropean but just as early diverged branches."

There're several theories of IE homeland, from Bactria-Sogdiana (Nichols) to Anatolia (Renfrew, Ivanov/Gamkrelidze) to Balkans (Dyakonoff). They all use most divergent languages (Tocharian, Hittite and Albanian) as linchpins.
Of course, in the end scholars will have to decide which kind of divergence matters the most.

German Dziebel said...

"Another possibility here could be that it's derived from type 3."

Again, type 3 is found in different Oceanic languages and there it's derived from proto-Austronesian type 10.

German Dziebel said...

"Linguistic and kinship are irrelevant for genetics. Linguistics at least can only point to recent phenomenons and they are largely unrelated to genetics (languages are learned and lost, genes are not)."

Cavalli-Sforza, the dean of population genetics, will certainly disagree. Look up his book Genes, Peoples, and Languages, 2000.

Linguistics has been more effective than genetics in many cases of deep historical inferences: Basque and Burushaski languages are distinct suggesting a different origin of these populations, although the genes of these populations are very similar to those of their neighbors. The Ket language shows a specific affinity to Na-Dene, while genetically they are the same. Linguists advanced the Taiwan model of Austronesian origin, which is basically correct. Genes are subject to horizontal exchange (gene flow) and loss, while languages often prove more resilient to change.

Maju said...

Linguistic families are all recent. No linguistic family has more than 10 or 12 thousand years (it would be impossible to detect). So I'd suggest that you ignore the size of linguistic families: they only represent recent flows.

... this is exactly what happened.

Statistically impossible.

How do you know what concepts apes understand? -

I thought we were already in agreement in this. You argued before, as I did too, that chimps and bonobos have some basic non-verbal kinship knowledge.

How come baboons now have complex music?-

I'll let you and Victor discuss it. My 6th grade music teacher told me I had no "ear" for music, so I never really got interested in the subject.

In any case, type G, and its immediate derivatives all the way to types 10, 8, D, D and some others, presupposes the ability of a speaker identify his or her own sex and age with respect to those of the relative designated by the term. I don't how to gauge if primates have this awareness.

They probably have but these would surely be different categories as they are for users of simpler kinship systems.

What they can't discern are paternal relatives.

Trask writes...

Trask is wrong in this. Trask's work is ok for the person who does not know almost anything about Basques (his rights clearly outweigh his wrongs) but he's not any super-expert and any common Basque citizen can easily spot his many errors.

You may be right, as, I assume, you're a native speaker but please duble check.

I'm not a native speaker (sadly) but I am 100% sure about this, as I have studied the language in some depth by now.

There're several theories of IE homeland...

Several hypothesis you mean. Scientific theories, i.e. solid models that have gone once and again through all tests, not just linguistic but very specially archaeological ones, there is only one: the Kurgan model that proposes a homeland at the Samara valley.

All the rest is ideological junk that does not resist even a mild criticism.

Again, type 3 is found in different Oceanic languages and there it's derived from proto-Austronesian type 10.

Evidence?

Cavalli-Sforza, the dean of population genetics, will certainly disagree.

Cavalli-Sforza has some rights and some wrongs. He's also subject to criticism and the possibility of human error.

He's anyhow obsessed with making a correlation between languages and genes, which is highly risky.

Look up his book Genes, Peoples, and Languages, 2000.

2000? I have a copy from 1996 (translated to Spanish).

Linguistics has been more effective than genetics in many cases of deep historical inferences: Basque and Burushaski languages are distinct suggesting a different origin of these populations, although the genes of these populations are very similar to those of their neighbors.

That means precisely that languages and genes are largely unrelated. That Basque neighbours adopted other languages without major problem regardless of genes. Although genetics do suggest that at some point in the past all them spoke something related to modern Basque (very hard or even impossible to prove anyhow).

Guess it's the same with Burushaski but I have not studied that case so much.

(continues)

Maju said...

(cont.)

The Ket language shows a specific affinity to Na-Dene, while genetically they are the same.

They are not the same: Ket are high in Y-DNA Q but different variants than those in America. Y-DNA Q surely pre-dates by much the native colonization of America anyhow. But more importantly, Na-Dene are rather clearly associated to Y-DNA C3, which is common in NE Asia (Mongols and others) but not found among Kets.

So Kets and other Siberian high Q groups (like Turkic-speaking Altaians) do show an affinity (by the male side only) to Native Americans in general (also to Inuit and Amerinds) but not in particular to Na-Dene peoples, who are precisely the ones who have the lowest apportions of haplogroup Q, precisely because they are high in C3.

Linguists advanced the Taiwan model of Austronesian origin, which is basically correct.

I agree. But here linguistics and archaeology add up, as happens with Indoeuropeans. Genetics nevertheless are much more complex, with Austronesians drawing from a wide area in SE Asia and Melanesia.

Again it's apparent that a culture/language can expand without strict correlation with genetics: by means of assimilating once and again other peoples.

Genes are subject to horizontal exchange (gene flow) and loss, while languages often prove more resilient to change.

Haploid lineages can't be changed. If I am R1b1b2a (not sure but most likely) I can't change that and all my father-son line descendants will have it (or a novel subset of it if a SNP mutation happens at some point) till the end of time (or the end of my paternal lineage).

But they can switch languages. My great grandfather and my grandfather were native Basque speakers, I was raised as Spanish speaker and my hypothetical descendants could perfectly grow as English, Portuguese or Chinese speakers for what I know. Their lineage would not change, their native language can change almost every generation if need be.

Maju said...

Btw, I am considering that maybe system 8 and similar ones that distinguish not just the "adjectives" of the sibling but also those of the of the person he/she is sibling of, must exist, at least originally, in languages where the subject, direct and indirect object are determined in the verb, as happens in Basque. Simpler grammars (simpler logical systems) such as that of Indoeuropean don't seem fit for such subtleties.

It may be a linguistic feature after all.

But it's just a wild guess.

German Dziebel said...

Sorry, my kid just deleted a long list of comments. Time to wrap up.

One thing: The Araujo thesis I mentioned written by a Basque native speaker is basically consistent with what Trask wrote: "In some dialects the term anaya is used by both men and women for male sibling." (p. 2)

Maju said...

I've been checking several dictionaries and all say the same. You can always send your question to Euskaltzaindia, the Academy of Basque Language, who will probably be delighted to answer it in great detail.

I just think that Araujo got it wrong for some reason (maybe in some sub-dialect the word had changed meaning because of Spanish influence) and that Trask mimicked that error.

German Dziebel said...

At least, the Labourdin dialect has anai as "brother" (next to arreba brother's sister and ahizpa sister's sister). See An introduction to the Basque language: Labourdin dialect, by Herbert P. Houghton, p. 5. It's on Google books. Looks like Trask and Arujo are right. I'll consult Luis Michelena next time I'm at the Harvard library.

Maju said...

Ask Euskaltzaindia if you want to get things right. I never heard/read anything of what you say here (and is not logical anyhow, unless it's an Indoeuropean influence effect).

German Dziebel said...

"I never heard/read anything of what you say here (and is not logical anyhow, unless it's an Indoeuropean influence effect)."

It's quite logical. That's how language change operates. One item from a set gets affected, then the change spreads out to other members of the set by analogy. An IE influence, on the contrary, would result in both sets of terms for siblings to change to the hermano-hermana pattern.