Linguistic diversity of the Americas can be reconciled with a recent colonization.

@article{Nettle1999LinguisticDO,
  title={Linguistic diversity of the Americas can be reconciled with a recent colonization.},
  author={Daniel Nettle},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
  year={1999},
  volume={96 6},
  pages={
          3325-9
        }
}
  • D. Nettle
  • Published 16 March 1999
  • Economics
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
The Americas harbor a very great diversity of indigenous language stocks, many more than are found in any other continent. J. Nichols [(1990) Language 66, 475-521] has argued that this diversity indicates a great time depth of in situ evolution. She thus infers that the colonization of the Americas must have begun around 35,000 years ago. This estimate is much earlier than the date for which there is strong archaeological support, which does not much exceed 12,000 years. Nichols' assumption is… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Recent studies in language prehistory with special reference to South Asia
The idea that languages and genes have correlated evolutionary paths was observed at least since Darwin (1871). The recent advances in genetics and comparative linguistics have allowed researchers to
At the Edge of Knowability: Towards a Prehistory of Languages
  • C. Renfrew
  • Linguistics
    Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • 2000
The issue of ‘knowability’ in relation to the origins and distribution of the language families of the world is addressed, and recent advances in historical linguistics and molecular genetics
Nonlinear diversification rates of linguistic phylogenies over the Holocene
TLDR
The overall diversification rate of languages in the sample is ∼0.001 yr-1 over the last 6,000 years with evidence for nonlinear dynamics in language diversification rates over time, where both within and across language families, diversity initially increases rapidly and then slows.
On the Number of New World Founders: A Population Genetic Portrait of the Peopling of the Americas
  • J. Hey
  • Economics
    PLoS biology
  • 2005
TLDR
A new method for the study of diverging populations was applied to questions on the founding and history of Amerind-speaking Native American populations, andalyses of Asian and New World data support a model of a recent founding of the New World by a population of quite small effective size.
Nothing has yet lasted forever: current and threatened levels of biological and cultural diversity
TLDR
The analogy between biodiversity and cultural diversity cannot be general for all scales and areas, given the immense differences in history and various other factors, but the correspondence observed across and within species in these two groups is remarkable.
Early South Americans Cranial Morphological Variation and the Origin of American Biological Diversity
TLDR
The results suggest that the high morphological diversity of native South Americans was not present among the first human groups arriving in the continent and must have originated during the Middle Holocene, possibly due to the arrival of new morphological Diversity coming from Asia during the Holocene.
Parallel extinction risk and global distribution of languages and species
TLDR
It is shown, by applying internationally agreed criteria for classifying species extinction risk, that languages are more threatened than birds or mammals.
Language Spread Rates and Prehistoric American Migration Rates
  • J. Nichols
  • Environmental Science
    Current Anthropology
  • 2008
Spread rates for language families can be calculated from the family’s range (which is generally known rather precisely) and age (which is only rarely known precisely but can often be estimated with
On the relation between structural diversity and geographical distance among languages: Observations and computer simulations
Abstract Modern linguistic typology is increasingly less concerned with what is possible in human languages (universals) and increasingly more with the question “what's where why?” (Bickel 2007).
Toward a Mechanistic Understanding of Linguistic Diversity
TLDR
It is suggested that future analyses should account for interactions among causal factors, the lack of spatial and phylogenetic independence of the data, and transitory patterns, and future modeling approaches should also evaluate how the outcomes of these processes are influenced by demography, environmental heterogeneity, and time.
...
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 38 REFERENCES
Clocking the First Americans
The antiquity of the first Americans is one of the most controversial issues in American archaeology, and it must be resolved to understand fully the adaptive radiation of Homo sapiens into the New
Before Babel: Speculations on the Origins of Linguistic Diversity
  • C. Renfrew
  • Linguistics
    Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • 1991
Recent research in historical linguistics suggests that groups or ‘families’ of languages may be classed together into larger language units or ‘macrofamilies’, for which some community of origin has
A latitudinal gradient in the density of human languages in North America
  • R. MaceM. Pagel
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1995
The number of different species found in a given area of the Earth increases from the poles towards the equator for a wide range of terrestrial and marine organisms. A similar but opposite
Earliest hunters and gatherers of South America
Traditional syntheses of the archaeology of the late Pleistocene period in South America have focused primarily on the peopling of the continent by North American cultural groups and on identifying
Extensive mitochondrial diversity within a single Amerindian tribe.
TLDR
Data do not support the concept of a dramatic founder effect during the peopling of the Americas and suggest that a single Amerindian tribe can contain such extensive molecular diversity, it is unnecessary to presume that substantial genetic bottlenecks occurred during the formation of contemporary ethnic groups.
Asian affinities and continental radiation of the four founding Native American mtDNAs.
TLDR
Observations suggest that the process of tribalization began early in the history of the Amerinds, with relatively little intertribal genetic exchange occurring subsequently.
mtDNA analysis of a prehistoric Oneota population: implications for the peopling of the New World.
TLDR
Haplogroup and hypervariable region I sequence data indicate that the lineages from haplogroups A, B, C, and D are the most common among Native Americans but that they were not the only lineages brought into the New World from Asia.
Mother Tongues Trace Steps of Earliest Americans
AAAS MEETINGWhile archaeologists are still trying to determine when the ancestors of the first inhabitants of South America first set foot in North America, a linguist has estimated from known rates
The Colonization of Beringia and the Peopling of the New World
TLDR
The discovery of a Paleoindian complex in central Alaska, combined with the recent redating of the Bering Land Bridge and key archeological sites, suggests that Beringia was settled during the final Pleistocene interstadial.
The rise and fall of languages
This book puts forward a different approach to language change, the punctuated equilibrium model. This is based on the premise that during most of the 100,000 or more years that humans have had
...
...