Quoting JS Bangs <[log in to unmask]>:

> Thomas R. Wier sikyal:
> > Quoting John Cowan <[log in to unmask]>:
> >
> > > Mark J. Reed scripsit:
> > >
> > > > Okay, my goal is to design a family of languages that all descend
> > > > from PIE, but have been completely isolated from all other
> > > > members of that family for the past few tens of millennia
> > >
> > > The time depth of PIE is only about 6000 years.
> >
> > This is by no means universally accepted, though it is the currently
> > reigning orthodoxy.  In particular, those who advocate an Anatolian
> > Urheimat, such as Colin Renfrew, usually claim an age of somewhere
> > between 7,000 and 9,000 years B.P., when agriculture was spreading
> > out of Anatolia into Europe and elsewhere. One of the key pieces of
> > evidence usually cited in favor of the orthodox age is the fact that
> > a PIE root for "wheel" can be reconstructed, and no wheels have been
> > discovered earlier than about 6,000 years B.P.
> >
> > (While I have no strong opinion on this, I have never gotten an
> > adequate response about the existence of wheels existing in
> > PreColumbian Meso-America which were used only with toys, and
> > not with modes of transportation.)
> Curious--what is the inconsistency here? The wheel could easily have been
> invented multiple times,

Oh, I wasn't claiming its presence in Meso-America was an importation
from the Old World. I fully believe that it was indigenous.

> and as for its failure to become important in
> Meso-America, I have always heard that attributed to the lack of large
> pack animals to make carts/plows worthwhile.

The point is that you don't have to have big wheels used for
transportation to have a word for "wheel".  Another wrinkle is
that the word for "wheel", _kw(e)kwlos_ in PIE seems to be
related to, indeed derived from, the verb _kwel-_for "roll, go
around".  There's a certain special pleading involved in saying
this form *had* to be original in the language when it is probably
a derivational form:  how do you in fact *know* that?

Anyways, IMO that in itself is not evidence one way or another
for dating the breakup of PIE.

> Curious that that Incas never invented carts to hook up to their llamas,
> though.

This is because though the wheel had been invented in Meso-America,
by the time of Columbus it had still not reached the Andes. An
additional difficulty is that llamas are quite difficult to breed;
they cannot be kept indoors, for example, or anywhere near humans.
This impedes their use as beasts of burden, even after domestication.
(Read _Guns, Germs and Steel_ by Jarod Diamond for great discussion
of these issues.)

Thomas Wier            "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics    because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago   half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street     Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637