This BBC Science story by Rebecca Morelle… well, really all I need do is point out that the affiliations of the authors of the paper it’s based on, “Automated reconstruction of ancient languages using probabilistic models of sound change,” are one Department of Statistics, one Department of Psychology, and two Computer Science Divisions. My basic response to any paper making claims about language that does not have at least one actual linguist on board is to toss it in the circular file. But I guess it’s possible that this system that “automatically and accurately reconstructs protolanguages from modern languages” (it slices! it dices!) might be useful in chewing through large quantities of data and spitting out correlations that could save linguists some time; at any rate, there it is for those who might find it of interest.