News from the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution

Researchers applied Bayesian phylolinguistic methods from evolutionary biology to the Transeurasian language family for the first time to address the long-standing debate about its internal structure.

Structure of Transeurasian language family revealed by computational linguistic methods

Researchers applied Bayesian phylolinguistic methods from evolutionary biology to the Transeurasian language family for the first time to address the long-standing debate about its internal structure. [more]
Her project, entitled ‘Teaching in New Caledonian Crows’, will examine the factors that influence the evolution of teaching.

Natalie Uomini awarded Templeton World Charity Foundation grant

Her project, entitled ‘Teaching in New Caledonian Crows’, will examine the factors that influence the evolution of teaching. [more]
Over the last 2000 years Christianity has grown from a tiny religious sect to the largest family of religions in the world. How did Christianity become so successful? Did Christianity spread through grass-roots movements or political elites? And what can the spread of Christianity tell us about how widespread social change happens?

How do religious ideologies spread?

Over the last 2000 years Christianity has grown from a tiny religious sect to the largest family of religions in the world. How did Christianity become so successful? Did Christianity spread through grass-roots movements or political elites? And what can the spread of Christianity tell us about how widespread social change happens? [more]
New Caledonian crows can recreate tools from memory according to a study published today in Scientific Reports.
Mental template matching is a potential cultural transmission...(Scientific Reports - open access)  Mental Template Matching in New Caledonian Crows  (YouTube-Video)  Crows Learn More About Toolmaking (New York Times, June 28)  Crow vending machine skills 'redefine intelligence' (BBC, June 29)

Crows can make tools from memory

New Caledonian crows can recreate tools from memory according to a study published today in Scientific Reports.

Mental template matching is a potential cultural transmission...(Scientific Reports - open access)
Mental Template Matching in New Caledonian Crows (YouTube-Video)
Crows Learn More About Toolmaking (New York Times, June 28)
Crow vending machine skills 'redefine intelligence' (BBC, June 29)

The Federal Foreign Office's Foreign Service Academy brings together young diplomats from around the world in its 9th International Diplomat Programme. The aim of this training initiative is to perceive foreign policy as an opportunity for cooperation and as a basis upon which to build the foundation for a working partnership on global matters. The programme offers a broad selection of seminars, informative visits and study tours, such as a visit at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Visit of young international diplomats on June 6th

The Federal Foreign Office's Foreign Service Academy brings together young diplomats from around the world in its 9th International Diplomat Programme. The aim of this training initiative is to perceive foreign policy as an opportunity for cooperation and as a basis upon which to build the foundation for a working partnership on global matters. The programme offers a broad selection of seminars, informative visits and study tours, such as a visit at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. [more]
Joint Workshop Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution& Friedrich Schiller University JenaDate: July 13, 2018Room:  Villa V14Hosts:  Martine Robeets & Volker Gast

Historical and comparative linguistics in Jena

Joint Workshop Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution& Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Date: July 13, 2018
Room: Villa V14
Hosts: Martine Robeets & Volker Gast [more]
The invention of agriculture changed humans and the environment forever. The practice originated independently in a least a dozen different places over several thousand years. But why did agriculture begin in those places and at those particular times in human history?

New clues to the origins of agriculture

The invention of agriculture changed humans and the environment forever. The practice originated independently in a least a dozen different places over several thousand years. But why did agriculture begin in those places and at those particular times in human history? [more]
In a new video from Latest Thinking, Russell Gray describes his research investigating the cooperative abilities of kea birds, and what this can tell us about ourselves.

"Do Kea Birds Have Cooperative Abilities?"

In a new video from Latest Thinking, Russell Gray describes his research investigating the cooperative abilities of kea birds, and what this can tell us about ourselves. [more]
A smartphone game designed by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History aims to study how languages evolve.

The evolution of language? There’s an app for that

A smartphone game designed by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History aims to study how languages evolve. [more]
Piers Kelly is co-editor of this new edited volume on Australian kinship systems. Australia is unique in the world for its diverse and interlocking systems of Indigenous social organisation. Arising from the large-scale AustKin project, this book presents recent original research by a range of authors in the field on the kinship and social category systems in Australia.

New book: Skin, Kin and Clan - The dynamics of social categories in Indigenous Australia

Piers Kelly is co-editor of this new edited volume on Australian kinship systems. Australia is unique in the world for its diverse and interlocking systems of Indigenous social organisation. Arising from the large-scale AustKin project, this book presents recent original research by a range of authors in the field on the kinship and social category systems in Australia. [more]
Wie erforscht man Ursprünge? (How do you explore origins?)  An article (in German) by Wolfgang Krischke on the work of the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution as well as the conflicts between computer-based and classical linguistics, for which the author also spoke with Johann-Mattis List, head of the "Computer-Assisted Language Comparison (CALC)" research group.

Frankfurter Allgemeine, March 24, 2018 | Feuilleton

Wie erforscht man Ursprünge? (How do you explore origins?)
An article (in German) by Wolfgang Krischke on the work of the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution as well as the conflicts between computer-based and classical linguistics, for which the author also spoke with Johann-Mattis List, head of the "Computer-Assisted Language Comparison (CALC)" research group. [more]
The Dravidian language family, varieties of which are spoken by 220 million people across South Asia, is crucial in understanding the prehistory not only of the subcontinent but of Eurasia as a whole.

New linguistic analysis finds that Dravidian language family is approximately 4,500 years old

The Dravidian language family, varieties of which are spoken by 220 million people across South Asia, is crucial in understanding the prehistory not only of the subcontinent but of Eurasia as a whole. [more]
Computational analyses of the evolution of 155 Island South East Asian and Pacific societies reveal the way social and material factors combine to drive major transitions in human social organization.

Intensification of agriculture and social hierarchies evolve together, study finds

Computational analyses of the evolution of 155 Island South East Asian and Pacific societies reveal the way social and material factors combine to drive major transitions in human social organization. [more]
Scientists have further evidence that an ancient family of languages spread over most of the Australian continent in the last 6000 years, rapidly replacing pre-existing languages. But the puzzle remains as to why.

Tracking the spread of early hunter-gatherers through language

Scientists have further evidence that an ancient family of languages spread over most of the Australian continent in the last 6000 years, rapidly replacing pre-existing languages. But the puzzle remains as to why. [more]
In a new video from Latest Thinking, Johann-Mattis List describes his research on automatic methods of language comparison, which have reached a level of performance that allows linguists to use them as a pre-screening tool.

"How Well Do Automatic Methods for Language Comparison Work?"

In a new video from Latest Thinking, Johann-Mattis List describes his research on automatic methods of language comparison, which have reached a level of performance that allows linguists to use them as a pre-screening tool. [more]
This month we will be highlighting female employees and their work, beginning with Director Nicole Boivin of the Department of Archaeology. Check back here throughout the month for updates!

International Women's Day 2018 at the MPI-SHH

This month we will be highlighting female employees and their work, beginning with Director Nicole Boivin of the Department of Archaeology. Check back here throughout the month for updates! [more]
Dogs create a mental representation of objects that they perceive through smell, a new study shows – and are surprised if what they find at the end of the trail differs from what they expected to find.

Ball or stuffed toy - do dogs “know” what they’re smelling?

Dogs create a mental representation of objects that they perceive through smell, a new study shows – and are surprised if what they find at the end of the trail differs from what they expected to find. [more]
New genetic research explains how Austronesian languages were retained throughout its history despite near-total replacement of early Austronesian-Lapita with Papuan ancestry.

Ancient DNA reveals genetic replacement despite language continuity in the South Pacific

New genetic research explains how Austronesian languages were retained throughout its history despite near-total replacement of early Austronesian-Lapita with Papuan ancestry. [more]
In a new video from Latest Thinking, Olivier Morin explains his recent reserach, in which he examined the letters of 116 writing systems from all over the world.

"How Does Writing Reflect Deep Human Preferences for Certain Shapes?"

In a new video from Latest Thinking, Olivier Morin explains his recent reserach, in which he examined the letters of 116 writing systems from all over the world. [more]
 
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