“Rise and fall of political complexity in island South-East Asia and the Pacific” by Thomas Currie et al.

It’s already a few months old, but still worth mentioning – I really liked the paper “Rise and fall of political complexity in island South-East Asia and the Pacific” by Thomas E. Currie and colleagues in Nature. The authors construct a phylogenetic tree based on the vocabulary of 84 Austronesian societies, and used these measures of relatedness to compare six competing models of political evolution in these societies.

Phylogenetic relationships and geographical location of 84 Austronesian societies. Fig. 1 from Currie et al. (2010), Nature, 467, 801-804.

I found the paper a fascinating read, anthropology of the Pacific Island region being a subject that has interested me for a long time. I have to admit that this was the first time that I saw phylogenetic methods use in that way, although that seems to be my fault, apparently Mace and Holden highlighted this application already in their 2005 paper in TREE. I wonder how reliable the estimation of such phylogenies are.

3 thoughts on ““Rise and fall of political complexity in island South-East Asia and the Pacific” by Thomas Currie et al.

  1. Pingback: Phylogenetics, models and evolution « theoretical ecology

  2. Pingback: Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family « theoretical ecology

  3. Pingback: Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family « theoretical ecology

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