From words to dates: water into wine, mathemagic or phylogenetic inference?
Version of Record online: 13 JUL 2005
Transactions of the Philological Society
Volume 103, Issue 2, pages 193–219, August 2005
How to Cite
Atkinson, Q., Nicholls, G., Welch, D. and Gray, R. (2005), From words to dates: water into wine, mathemagic or phylogenetic inference?. Transactions of the Philological Society, 103: 193–219. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-968X.2005.00151.x
- Issue online: 13 JUL 2005
- Version of Record online: 13 JUL 2005
Gray & Atkinson's (2003) application of quantitative phylogenetic methods to Dyen, Kruskal & Black's (1992) Indo-European database produced controversial divergence time estimates. Here we test the robustness of these results using an alternative data set of ancient Indo-European languages. We employ two very different stochastic models of lexical evolution – Gray & Atkinson's (2003) finite-sites model and a stochastic-Dollo model of word evolution introduced by Nicholls & Gray (in press). Results of this analysis support the findings of Gray & Atkinson (2003). We also tested the ability of both methods to reconstruct phylogeny and divergence times accurately from synthetic data. The methods performed well under a range of scenarios, including widespread and localized borrowing.