Biologists using tools developed for a technique normally used to study the evolution and spread of disease say that they have solved a longstanding problem in archaeology: the origin of the Indo-European family of languages. The family includes English and most other European languages, as well as Persian, Hindi and many others.
English, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Greek and Hindi might all sound very different, but there are many commonalities, such as the Dutch moeder, Spanish madre and Russian mat, all of which mean mother. On this basis, researchers have concluded that more than a hundred languages across Europe and the Middle East, from Iceland to Sri Lanka, stem from a common ancestor.
Scientist have found decisive support for an Anatolian (the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of Turkey) origin. Both the timing and the root of the tree of Indo-European languages fit with an agricultural expansion from Anatolia beginning 8,000 to 9,500 years ago.