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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