Dead as the Moa.

Priscilla Wehi, Hēmi Whaanga, and Murray Cox at The Conversation (“Academic rigor, journalistic flair”) discuss Māori oral traditions:

Tracing extinctions that happened centuries ago is difficult, but our collaborative analysis of ancestral sayings, or whakataukī, found that early Māori paid attention to their local fauna and environment and recognised the extinction of these giant, flightless birds that were an important food resource.

After Europeans arrived, some whakataukī used moa as a metaphor for the feared extinction of the indigenous Māori people themselves, which emphasises the powerful cultural impact the extinction of moa had. […]

Sometimes, what is missing from a body of knowledge reveals more than what is actually there. We searched the whakataukī for bird species that became extinct in the first few centuries after Māori arrived in New Zealand. There were none, apart from moa, and the giant eagle, or pouakai, that preyed on moa. Pouakai tracked moa on the highway to extinction. […]

Many whakataukī highlight the disappearance of the moa, a sign that moa represented more than just another extinction. They were a poster species. A hashtag. Many sayings lament the loss of the moa, using different words and different phrasing, but with an echo that repeats over and over.

Huna i te huna a te moa
Hidden as the moa hid

Thanks, Dmitry!

Comments

  1. I wonder what native NZ species is NOT endangered? Take the black robin, for example:

    http://www.blackrobingin.co.nz/rare-gin/

  2. Maybe kereru? Kea was added to the list last year.

  3. The section in the paper about dating the texts is most interesting. They attempt to estimate on linguistic and textual grounds whether a given saying is likely to be, say from the 1300s or the 1600s. I’ve never seen this attempted with oral literature.

  4. Northern Russians had a belief that the original Finnic inhabitants of the region went into hiding (somewhere underground according to some legends) when the Russians came.

    They called them Potayonnaya Chud’ (Hidden Finns).

  5. Trond Engen says:

    The underground people is a central part of folklore in many places. It’s been speculated that these ideas are folk memories of earlier inhabitants, but I’ve never seen such a clear example before. But when I think about it it’s less clear. The concept of the underground people must be older than russification, but even so, the association to Finns would be interesting. Hidden People could easily become Hidden Finns in translation — or by contamination with the idea of hidden heathens, metaphorically underground, at the time of christianization. At some stage Christian and Rus’ would have been synonyms, and Heathen and Chud’.

  6. Note that current thinking is that Moa were already in decline before humans arrived in Aotearoa; indeed several of the largest species had already died out.

    I wonder what native NZ species is NOT endangered?

    The pukeko? At least they seem to be thriving in the paddocks around Christchurch. But I agree in general the situation is dire. Vote for NZ’s bird of the year! https://www.birdoftheyear.org.nz/

  7. David Marjanović says:

    Note that current thinking is that Moa were already in decline before humans arrived in Aotearoa; indeed several of the largest species had already died out.

    Link, please? I haven’t been following that.

  8. Link, please?

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1810089/

    I am certainly not denying that humans eating megafauna (and especially eating the eggs) was the final blow.

    And then … in the vein of Everything you know is wrong, there’s

    http://www.pnas.org/content/111/13/4922

    which includes a literature review. That didn’t make it into the popular press here. Possibly for reasons it would be politically incorrect to air.

  9. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    Not a link, I’m afraid, but I’m pretty sure that Jared Diamond said something like that in Guns, Germs and Steel.

  10. David Marjanović says:

    Ah, then chances are good that it’s outdated.

  11. (AntC’s 1:17 am response with links was held up in moderation, so don’t miss it.)

  12. Oh, the article titles… “Moa were many”, “Moa’s Ark or volant ghosts of Gondwana?”, “Tinamous and moa flock together”…

  13. “politically incorrect to air”? Why?

  14. Why?

    Because we couldn’t say a word that might be interpreted as critical of the Tangata Whenua.

    And we’d have to be balanced that the Pākeha (and what came with them) have extincted far more species in a mere 200 years. And we’d have to add that the thriving dairy industry is turning every stream/river (including ones that I swam in less than 20 years ago) into a stinking, fetid, weed-choked trickle, by both drawing all the flow for irrigation, and replacing the flow with fertiliser runoff and cow shit. Oh and we’d have to be critical of all the overseas fisher-tourists who brought the godawful didymo (‘rock snot’) that chokes what flow remains; and then go driving over the shingle braids looking for less-snotty places to fish and thereby crush all the delicate nesting sites. And … And … lake snow … blue/green algae … Possums … Stoats … Weasels … Rats. The birdlife just doesn’t stand a chance.

    See! I knew I’d insult everybody once I got started.

  15. It’s the same story in every Pacific island. Easter Island might be the only one where the Polynesians extincted more species than the Whites, who didn’t have much left to kill off by the time they got there.

  16. “The underground people is a central part of folklore in many places. It’s been speculated that these ideas are folk memories of earlier inhabitants, but I’ve never seen such a clear example before. ”

    Trond, it turns out there may be one in your area. It appears that Y-DNA haplotype I2 in northern Europe reflects the first re-settlement of the area, and that haplotype R1b represents the population that entered Europe as the Bronze Age started and may represent Indo-European entry also. But before that there was a settlement of haplotype G and H out of Anatolia that appears to have brought agriculture. Those people farmed where they could and they hit a climatological barrier in northern Germany. That boundary held for something like a thousand years. There was maternal gene flow into the forager groups, so that means there was some contact.

    Then the climate changed as part of a long-term cycle and got colder and wetter. Huge tracts in northern Germany that had been farmed became water-logged and developed into heath barrens, which remain to this day The I2 population rebounded because their economy enabled that while the G and H farming economy collapsed. There is now very little G or H left in those populations. Then the R1b guys showed up.

    And that thousand year was long enough for these stories of people out in the woods to develop and to pass on through maternal story-telling.

  17. Trond Engen says:

    That could be. In the case of our Scandinavian underjordiske or haugfolk, I have seen the Finns evoked, but also ideas of the dead living on in their mounds or around their old dwellings. They are not mutually exclusive.

  18. Trond,

    “I have seen the Finns evoked, but also ideas of the dead living on in their mounds or around their old dwellings”

    The dead living in mounds or around old dwellings sounds very Irish. The Neolithic tumuli in Ireland were explicitly the houses of the fairy folk, actually old gods. Apparently it’s more widely regional than just in Ireland.

    Bringing the Finns into it is a little odd, since they arrived in the region after the Scandinavians, who are basically aboriginal.

  19. Trond Engen says:

    Jim: Bringing the Finns into it is a little odd, since they arrived in the region after the Scandinavians, who are basically aboriginal.

    Aboriginal is a stretch. There were people here before the Germanic settlement, and they coexisted for quite a while. In this case we can take ‘Finn’ to mean “those non-Germanic Scandinavians hunting and gathering in the woods”. And that use of the word wasn’t necessarily wrong. The age of the Finnic settlement haven’t always been settled. Or, if you prefer, the non-finnicness of the early Scandinavians haven’t always been broadly accepted. And it still isn’t settled in detail. There’s no clear consensus on the size and distribution of the non-Germanic HG population in Iron Age South Scandinavia, and whether or not they were a homogenous group, and if the term ‘Finn’ originally denoted those aboriginals, and if they were finnicized before they were germanicized, and whether they withdrew and became South Sami or became integrated in the North Germanic society. At least some of these questions have clearer answers further north on the peninsula.

    Yes, I knew about the Irish. I think this is a common human belief, even if the details are different in different cultures.

  20. David Marjanović says:

    Then the climate changed as part of a long-term cycle and got colder and wetter. Huge tracts in northern Germany that had been farmed became water-logged and developed into heath barrens, which remain to this day

    Is that the Northgrippian/Meghalayan boundary event of exactly 4200 BP?

    There were people here before the Germanic settlement, and they coexisted for quite a while.

    Germany had parallel societies (term chosen for relevance in current German politics) for two thousand years; they stayed genetically distinct despite some intermarriage. However, that seems to have ended in the mid-fourth millennium BC, so a while before the IE invasions and even longer before the end of the Northgrippian.

  21. John Cowan says:

    What’s the thinking now on the Finnic languages having an IE (Germanic) substrate? The grammatical changes from PU to PF look suspicious to me, even if most of the vocabulary came in later from the Germanic superstrate.

  22. IE substrate yes, but primarily Baltic rather than Germanic, at least unless you’d rather believe one colleague of mine who is currently developing a theory to the effect of the Germanic lineage splitting from the IE dialect continuum somewhere in western Russia, then spreading to northern Baltia, and thence to Scandinavia, kind of “one step ahead of” Finnic.

    A Germanic substrate is quite possible though in western Finnish, and some stuff picked up from there could have later spread into other varieties.

  23. John Cowan says:

    I find it hard to swallow that Germanic came down from the north rather than up from the south. In particular the presence of Harvaða fjǫllum, etymologically ‘cliffs of the Carpathians’, in the saga of King Heidrek the Wise suggests a historical south-to-north movement, as does the presence of Indo-Iranian path in all the Germanic languages.

  24. David Marjanović says:

    Well, that the Carpathians were known doesn’t mean anyone speaking Germanic lived there before Grimm’s law set in. The Romans knew of the “Mountains of the Moon” where the source of the Nile was, and Hyperborea is just a few degrees off from China (it’s behind Siberia, just not in the right direction). I suspect news spread with the amber trade.

    Path is a difficult problem where, frankly, nothing makes complete sense so far. But yes, it’s ultimately Iranian.

  25. Trond Engen says:

    As for foundation myths, the great Norwegian 19th century historian P. A. Munch preferred a North Baltic route for specifically North Germanic, based on the strange story of Nor and Gor in Orkneyinga saga. But it’s hard to see that view as separated from his political role in Norwegian and Scandinavian nation building.

  26. Trond Engen says:

    Oh, I forgot. Path is restricted to West Germanic. The absence from Gothic doesn’t say very much, but that it’s unknown in North Germanic does.

  27. Trond Engen says:

    I suddenly remembered that if Finns are “finders”, they would be root cognates with path. Looking it up on Etymonline, I’m reminded of another suggested etymology, from the root of Eng. fen, i.e. “marshians”. That etymology would work better if it originally was the term for Jim’s North German foragers, if they were still there in the age of Corded Ware, later transfered to the Pitted Ware people, and then to the (Para-?)Uralic Comb Ware.

    I checked path while I was at it. Etymonline agrees it’s West Germanic, refers to Ringe for the Iranian origin, and then adds this interesting tidbit:

    In Scotland and Northern England, commonly a steep ascent of a hill or in a road.

    That could point to an original meaning “section of a road where you walk”, in which case one might try to connect it to “foot”, but it could also be that it was unknown in the continental source of these dialects and was borrowed in a specialized sense. Or both, of course.

  28. I find it hard to swallow that Germanic came down from the north rather than up from the south.

    This was definitely a direction of movement in post-Proto-Germanic times though, culminating in the Vandals eventually making it as far as Carthage. Or more lastingly, in the High German expansion into the Alps. My main concern would be that, if Germanic supposedly started off as some kind of peripheral northern neighbors of Balto-Slavic, it would be rather hard to explain the common IE dialectal era similarities Germanic shares with Italic and Celtic. (It would make it much easier to explain commonalities with Tocharian, OTOH.)

    I’ve been under the belief that the usually accepted spreading route for pre-Germanic goes roughly northwest through Poland. No idea though how solidly established this is either.

  29. John Cowan says:

    if Germanic supposedly started off as some kind of peripheral northern neighbors of Balto-Slavic, it would be rather hard to explain the common IE dialectal era similarities Germanic shares with Italic and Celtic.

    Well, Ringe & Co. thinks that’s basically heavy influence of I/C on G rather than a common origin.

    (It would make it much easier to explain commonalities with Tocharian, OTOH.)

    I had thought all of those were shared primitive characters, but maybe not.

  30. David Marjanović says:

    Oh, I forgot. Path is restricted to West Germanic. The absence from Gothic doesn’t say very much, but that it’s unknown in North Germanic does.

    Good, so we can go back to blaming the Alans and wondering why a word with that kind of meaning would be borrowed.

    if Finns are “finders”

    That does not work, because the Norse *nd > nn assimilation long postdates the Fenni of Tacitus (note that that’s a Pre-Germanic word form, lacking *enC > *inC); we’ve discussed it previously here.

    (Three years farther down that thread, I had an interesting idea about harvað, if I may say so myself.)

    commonalities with Tocharian

    Do tell!

  31. Well, the commonalities with Celtic look like cultural loans and at least for some of them this can even be demonstrated as they show Celtic sound changes. The commonalities with Italic show an IE or immediate Post-IE stage of sound changes, and often have quite basic meanings (“neck”, “think”) which, in my view, is more likely to be the result of common development than of loaning.

  32. wondering why a word with that kind of meaning would be borrowed

    Here’s an old notion of mine: The inherited word march means a border, something skirting the edge of the impenetrable northern forest. The Iranians, unfazed, galloped through it and made paths. Better for a novel than as history, I’m sure.

  33. I believe the prime source for Germano-Tocharian isoglosses is Adams (1984):

    It is also instructive to look at the Tocharian correlations from the point of view of the other Indo-European groups. We find for instance that, aside from Baltic, Tocharian ranks as the group most nearly similar to Germanic. Similarly for both Italic and Celtic, Tocharian ranks in second place after Celtic and Italic respectively. These data (admittedly statistically questionable) indicate a closeness of relationship with Meillet’s “Northwestern Group” that has not been commented on before.

    (…) The Proto-Tocharian treatment of PIE syllabic resonants was then exactly the same as that found in Proto-Germanic: all *Ṛ‘s become *uR. (…) The treatment of the long syllabic resonants in Germanic and Tocharian is also identical. Both groups show complete, uncompensated, loss of the laryngeal in most cases.

    Perhaps the most striking innovation Tocharian shares with another branch of Indo-European is the possession of “strong” and “weak” (i.e., n-stem) adjectives at some time in its prehistory. Both Germanic and Tocharian evidently belonged to that portion of Indo-European, including at least Latin, Greek, and Balto-Slavic, where n-stem nouns became productive, as “singulatives”or definites, often with affective meaning (…) More important for our current purposes, in both pre-Germanic and pre-Tocharian, the singulative or definitizing function of the n-stems was extended also to adjectives—perhaps by way of the use of singulative nouns as nominal modifiers—creating parallel declensions of semantically definitive adjectives (morphologically n-stems) and semantically indefinite adjectives (those of other declensional types).

    It is possible, on the basis of these relationships with Germanic, Greek, etc., to “place” Tocharian geographically in the late Proto-Indo-European world in some manner, say, between Germanic (on the”north”?) and Greek (on the “south”?). It is also possible, and perhaps more realistic, to assume that the resemblances Tocharian shares with Greek, and perhaps also with Indic, are (when they are not simply common retentions) the result of later contacts in the immediately post Indo-European period of the pre-Tocharians with the pre-Greeks (and pre-Indics). These contacts would have occurred as the pre-Tocharians moved from a northwestern location near the pre-Germanics (and in the neighborhood of the pre-Latins and pre-Balts) to an increasingly southern and, ultimately, eastern position vis-a-vis the rest of Indo-European.

    (Obviously the first point is distance-based and could involve retentions either from PIE or from an intermediate “NWIE” group. With the second, another possibility that comes to my mind would be *R̥ > *ɨR, shared then with Balto-Slavic, plus *ɨ > *u in some labializing contexts such as after original labiovelars.)

    The recent paper from Malzahn that argues against Tocharian as an early split-off cites also e.g. Puhvel (1994) and Hamp (1998) for non-primary affiliation with Germanic (together with a long list of other proposals).

    I know I’ve seen shared phonological/morphological innovations proposed also between Germanic and Italic and/or Celtic, but someone else surely knows more about that than me.

  34. Trond Engen says:

    Just the other day in the Yamnaya thread I was about to say that the Srubna Culture look like Tocharians in the wrong place.

    David M. (Three years farther down that thread, I had an interesting idea about harvað, if I may say so myself.)

    You may. You had. That’s the Srubna people too. Albano-Tocharians.

  35. Trond,

    “The age of the Finnic settlement haven’t always been settled. Or, if you prefer, the non-finnicness of the early Scandinavians haven’t always been broadly accepted. And it still isn’t settled in detail.”

    Genetics is settling some of that. Uralic languages are largely associated with N. There is an area in Sweden with a significant population of N, but it’s on the central eastern coast and then inland, in a distribution that looks intrusive. The rest of Scandinavia is a blend of R1a, R1b, Q and then I1 of course. And with Y haplotypes you have a very firm rate of mutation, so unlike with glottochronology you can date the splits pretty accurately, and N is relatively recent in the area.

    “I’m reminded of another suggested etymology, from the root of Eng. fen, i.e. “marshians”. That etymology would work better if it originally was the term for Jim’s North German foragers, if they were still there in the age of Corded Ware, later transfered to the Pitted Ware people, and then to the (Para-?)Uralic Comb Ware.”

    Of course there’s a pattern worldwide of older populations being pushed off into marginal lands, but there’s another exactly opposite pattern you see in California and the PNW, where newer groups had to settle for land no one else wanted. Look at the pattern of Athapaskan settlement along the Pacific Coast. And you see the same thing in Europe in the areas where Scandinavians settled in Britain and Ireland.

    Ridger,
    “Here’s an old notion of mine: The inherited word march means a border, something skirting the edge of the impenetrable northern forest. The Iranians, unfazed, galloped through it and made paths.”

    Here’s an irony with that bundle of etyma and sememes; in Indic there’s a word “marga” (maybe related) that means path, and it fits, if the path is the margin of a tilled field.

  36. Trond Engen says:

    Jim: Uralic languages are largely associated with N. There is an area in Sweden with a significant population of N, but it’s on the central eastern coast and then inland, in a distribution that looks intrusive. The rest of Scandinavia is a blend of R1a, R1b, Q and then I1 of course. And with Y haplotypes you have a very firm rate of mutation, so unlike with glottochronology you can date the splits pretty accurately, and N is relatively recent in the area.

    I wasn’t aware of that distribution of haplotype N in Sweden. But it would seem to fit very well with Asko Parpola’s argumentation based on the distribution of Akozino-Mälar axes, most recently (I think) in Asko Parpola (2017): Finnish vatsa ~ Sanskrit vatsá- and the formation of Indo-Iranian and Uralic languages (esp. p. 254 ff.).

    Of course there’s a pattern worldwide of older populations being pushed off into marginal lands, but there’s another exactly opposite pattern you see in California and the PNW, where newer groups had to settle for land no one else wanted. Look at the pattern of Athapaskan settlement along the Pacific Coast. And you see the same thing in Europe in the areas where Scandinavians settled in Britain and Ireland.

    The patterns are different because the economies are different. Hunter-gatherers are generally more flexible than foragers (thought the two exist on a continuum), and foragers are more flexible than farmers, which means that defending the land is not always important enough for a devastating war. This was an advantage on a short-term, individual level but a disadvantage for long-term survival of the group. Mounted nomads were more flexible than farmers, but with the development of mounted raiding, having your livelihood bound by investment to a particular spot of land made you vulnerable, and flexibility became an advantage also on a group level.

  37. David Marjanović says:

    …What do you mean by “forager”, if not “hunter-gatherer”?

  38. Trond Engen says:

    Good question. I’ve been using them indiscrimately, but I’ve recently noticed some making a point of the difference between those who exploit a wide variety of resources in different locations and those specializing on and even cultivating certain local resources, even if the line between the two can’t be precisely drawn. I may well have imagined it, but even so, I think there’s a useful distinction to be made.

  39. Trond Engen says:

    (And, Hat: Please fix the ugly link in my 12:37.)

  40. Fixed (and a couple of typos corrected); the link you gave wasn’t working for me, so I substituted another.

  41. Trond Engen says:

    Thanks. Family life interfered and I was in a hurry finishing the comment. There’s still a typo there (‘thought’ for ‘though’ in the last parenthesis), but it wouldn’t be me without one.

  42. Trond,

    “Good question. I’ve been using them indiscrimately, but I’ve recently noticed some making a point of the difference between those who exploit a wide variety of resources in different locations and those specializing on and even cultivating certain local resources, even if the line between the two can’t be precisely drawn.”

    I think it’s a useful distinction. Otherwise people lump “hunter-gatherers” like the San in with non-agricultural societies like those on the Pacific Northwest Coast, which were complex enough to have stratified class systems and all kinds of labor specializations. You find the same thing in California. I imagine the situation was similar in pre-agricultural Europe around rich fishing grounds such as the North Sea or even the Baltic. The salmon runs in northern Europe must have been substantial before agricultural activity ruined them. Jomon Japan was probably similar.

  43. marie-lucie says:

    Jim, I read somewhere than it is wrong to lump “fishers” with “hunter-gatherers”. Hunter-gatherers have to go where the animals or plants are, and their availability is often unpredictable, so the people need to have access to very large territories. Fishers on the other hand can live on relatively small territories on a sea coast, and especially in estuaries where predictable runs bring in great masses of fish, which after suitable processing provide enough stored food to last until the next run. These conditions give rise to different types of social organization: hunters-gatherer societies are usually egalitarian and family-oriented, while fishing cultures tend to be hierarchical and competitive, as well as having time outside of the busy fishing season to engage in activities not linked to immediate survival, such as ceremonies and art. Of course, fishers can also engage in hunting and gathering, but those activities are not major ones.

  44. David Marjanović says:

    I’ve seen “hunter-gatherers” distinguished from “hunter-fishers” before.

  45. And then there are hunter-shooters like the British aristocracy.

  46. Trond Engen says:

    “spender-gatherers”?

  47. That would be people who collect Stephen Spender autographs.

  48. I just read Spender’s Wikipedia page, having not previously known much about him apart from some of his poems. The page includes the tidbit that one of the reasons he was initially deemed unfit for military or reserve service was “long-term effects of a tapeworm.”

  49. January First-of-May says:

    The inherited word march means a border

    While it indeed still does, at least in some contexts (and we get margin from the same IE root), a bewildering sequence of meaning shifts (mostly in Old and Middle French) made it also mean “walk, especially fast and/or long”.

    A different, nearly as bewildering, sequence of meaning shifts within Germanic resulted in mark – both as in “marking” and, branching off from that line, as in the (former) German currency.

    Etymology can be funny.

  50. @January First-of-May: At least one of the meanings of march also goes back ultimately to the same root as mark. Both of the meanings of march that we are discussing come to English via French, but only the “border” meaning has a certain origin (according to the OED). The “striding in military style” sense may have originated with the same Germanic root, or it may have been from a meaning related to hammering. (The entries for the verb forms of march include a note about a ca.1400 attestation, for which it is not entirely certain whether the “border” or “stride” meaning is meant: He graunted þam to haf Southsex, & Estsex, & Mydellesex; for þei merched opon Kent.) There are also several other senses from the mark root, including one, marked both obsolete and rare, meaning “the spoor of an otter.”

    However, I have encountered several times the folk etymological belief that the (actually older in English) “border” sense derives from the “stride” sense. The idea is that military leaders referred to borders as “marches” apparently because of the necessity of marching their arms out to do battle along those borders. And march as a word for border does seem to carry military overtones, so this origin seems plausible.

  51. January First-of-May says:

    The idea is that military leaders referred to borders as “marches” apparently because of the necessity of marching their arms out to do battle along those borders.

    Said military leaders, presumably, being marshals…

    (No relation. Almost certainly no relation to “martial” either.)

  52. m.-l., doesn’t it depend on the fish? Anadromous fish like salmon do what you describe, and gather in large numbers at certain places and times. Does the same work for ocean fishers (I dunno, maybe some coastal East coast folks) which deal with more “scattered” species?

  53. “Jim, I read somewhere than it is wrong to lump “fishers” with “hunter-gatherers”.”

    M-L, that sure is true in the PNW, isn’t ? And other things follow from it. For salmon runs there are going to be good and less good spots along a river, and those will be very desirable, very heritable prerogatives. For fishing out to sea there is going to need to be a fair amount of male disposability for obvious practical reasons, and this is going to have two knock-on effects. One is that women are going to have to run things because they are the Continuity of Operations Plan in the community, and the other is that a high enough level of male disposability is going to feed a tendency to warlike behavior – I’m looking at you, Tlingit.

    “Does the same work for ocean fishers (I dunno, maybe some coastal East coast folks) which deal with more “scattered” species?”

    Y, I bet it does, Species close to shore are often numerous enough to support big communities and the truly pelagic species require quite an investment of equipment and a lot of organization. The Makah run fishing trips out of Neah Bay in Washington – a lot of them for sports fishermen these days – that go after halibut. Just one good-sized halibut will feed 20 people easily, and that’s just three or four guys on one boat.

  54. David Marjanović says:

    Almost certainly no relation to “martial” either.

    Is there any challenge to the “servant in charge of horses” etymology for maréchal?

  55. January First-of-May says:

    I was more referring to the lack of an accepted etymology of Mars (…that I could find, anyway), which means it could in principle be related to one of the other two (though this is unlikely).

  56. Wasn’t Mars borrowed from Etruscan?

  57. there’s another exactly opposite pattern you see in California and the PNW, where newer groups had to settle for land no one else wanted. Look at the pattern of Athapaskan settlement along the Pacific Coast. And you see the same thing in Europe in the areas where Scandinavians settled in Britain and Ireland.

    But Scandinavians settling the British Isles did not simply turn up and meekly ask for any land anyone else wasn’t using. They took large bits of land along the coasts they wanted – the Northern and Western Isles, northern Scotland, and large parts of northern and central England. Most of that was very much not “marginal land” but prime farming land easily accessible from the sea.

  58. exactly opposite pattern you see in California and the PNW, where newer groups had to settle for land no one else wanted. Look at the pattern of Athapaskan settlement along the Pacific Coast.

    I don’t understand what you mean. What are some examples? What is “land no one wanted”?

  59. “But Scandinavians settling the British Isles did not simply turn up and meekly ask for any land anyone else wasn’t using. They took large bits of land along the coasts they wanted – the Northern and Western Isles, northern Scotland, and large parts of northern and central England. ”

    Ajay,

    Everyone of those places did in fact have native populations, as you say, but that land is pretty marginal if you’re trying to farm it, and this is not just a Californian bias speaking. Those areas have been population pumps for emigration for centuries for a reason. The Hiberno-Norse did take some lands, but not all did. My ancestors certainly didn’t; they stayed in towns as tradesmen. The Anglo-Norse didn’t always do much better. The Hatfields of feud fame appear to be of Norse ancestry (I2 Y-DNA haplotype) and their name translates to “heath field”. There’s hardly enough for a sheep on land like that.

  60. Y,
    “I don’t understand what you mean. What are some examples? What is “land no one wanted”?”

    I think some examples will make this clearer.

    In California the oldest populations are the Yuki, the Chumash, the Salinans and groups like the Achomawi in the Pit river country and the Yuman groups like the Kumeyaay in San Diego. Next were various Penutian groups, who came in at least two waves. the archeology supports this by the way, this doesn’t rely on linguistic evidence. They settled in the Central valley nd similar places. Any Californian will tell you the Valley is not the most desirable place to live. Just say the name “Fresno” and wait for the reaction.

    Okay. So the Yuki were originally in a much larger area but now they’re in Round Valley (Covelo) – heaven on earth. The Salinans were in and around Paso Robles, which is not too shabby either.

    The Chumash were in freaking Santa Barbara, and as I said, the Kumeyaay were in San Diego. But in between them speakers of Takic languages, Uto-Aztecan, moved in from further east more recently – into the LA Basin. ‘Nuff said.

    There’s a similar pattern with the Athapaskans, who we know entered the area perhaps a thousand years ago, which is quite recently in this context.. In California they moved into the redwoods, which while quite beautiful, are a true food desert and not the sort of habitat hunter-gatherers are going to prefer. The exception is the Hupa, and even they are sitting in back cabin WRT to the Yurok. (Here’s an exception to this pattern. The Karok were there first and they’re upriver on poorer land. They Yurok shouldered them out at some point.) In Oregon the (Upper) Umpqua were upriver from the Alsea. The further upriver, the poorer the foraging.

  61. the Valley is not the most desirable place to live
    Before the Europeans, the San Joaquin Valley was a network of rivers, lakes, and lush wetlands, full of fish and millions of large birds. The northern San Joaquin valley supported, in late prehistoric times, the highest population density in California.

    speakers of Takic languages, Uto-Aztecan, moved in from further east more recently
    These areas had been populated before the UA entry.

    the redwoods … are a true food desert and not the sort of habitat hunter-gatherers are going to prefer
    The Hupa and the Karuk have the Trinity and Klamath rivers, rich in fish, and nearby oak groves for acorns. It’s not a poor land.

    I don’t think there has been unutilized productive land in California since the early Holocene. There is plenty of evidence for language spreads at the expense of other languages. I can’t say how many of these spreads were peaceful or antagonizing, and how many were demic expansions as opposed to diffusions, but the idea that older populations stayed put and newer ones had to pick what’s left is in general not supported.

  62. Is there any ecological reason why there are so many languages in California?

    Caucasus and New Guinea are obvious – high mountains and isolated valleys, so many populations are kind of isolated from each other, preserving their languages intact for a long time.

    But how it works in California?

  63. that land is pretty marginal if you’re trying to farm it, and this is not just a Californian bias speaking.

    This is simply wrong. The Danelaw included some of the best farming land in Britain. All of East Anglia, for a start. The lands around the Wash and the East Midlands. Lincolnshire and the Humber drainage.
    Look, here is a map of England.

    http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/6172638548328448?category=5954148537204736

    The blue bits are Grade 1 and 2 farmland – the best. The Danelaw included essentially all of it.

  64. “speakers of Takic languages, Uto-Aztecan, moved in from further east more recently
    These areas had been populated before the UA entry.”

    Of course, but how densely? And why did that population give way to the immigrants? Thinly settled land is hard to hold.

    “Before the Europeans, the San Joaquin Valley was a network of rivers, lakes, and lush wetlands, full of fish and millions of large birds”. The San Joaquin valley is a huge area and that is true only of parts of it. That description certainly does not refer to the southern end of the valley which, except for Tule Lake, is classified as steppe.

    “The Hupa and the Karuk have the Trinity and Klamath rivers, rich in fish, and nearby oak groves for acorns. It’s not a poor land.”

    As I said, the Hupa are an exception among the Athapaskans. The Karok homeland is not poor, it is poorer than the Yurok homeland although not by much. The lower stretches of rivers are generally richer because they are at the beginning of the salmon runs.

    “This is simply wrong. The Danelaw included some of the best farming land in Britain. All of East Anglia, for a start. The lands around the Wash and the East Midlands. Lincolnshire and the Humber drainage.”

    What is the density of Norse settlement area as reflected in the population genetics? The area was under Norse control but how much was the existing population displaced? Where is the highest density of Norse settlement and what are those lands like compared to those that retained their Saxon or earlier populations?

  65. Trond Engen says:

    Those blue areas have become a lot bluer with the development of irrigation and modern agriculture. Much of it must have been marshes during the Danelaw.

  66. I don’t know the prevalent processes of linguistic/ethnic replacement in California, but the idea of “land no one wanted” as you put it earlier doesn’t hold, at least not in the last several thousand years.

    The wetlands in the San Joaquin Valley reached all the way down to the southern end, to the Kern River delta and Kern and Buena Vista lakes. See, e.g., here

  67. Trond Engen says:

    Me (unsupported): Those blue areas have become a lot bluer with the development of irrigation and modern agriculture. Much of it must have been marshes during the Danelaw.

    Me (supported): Those blue areas have become a lot bluer with the development of irrigation and modern agriculture. Much of it must have been marshes during the Danelaw (scroll down for a Viking Age map).

  68. Lars (the original one) says:

    @Trond, Wouldn’t that be drainage instead of irrigation? Not that it changes your point, both need earthworks (for the easy parts) and later pumps.

  69. Trond Engen says:

    Yes, thanks, drainage. Erigation?

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