Analyzing the Evolution of Fairy Tales

Phylogenetic analysis was originally developed to map the branching process of evolutionary development. The same methodology has been adapted to create tree maps of how different languages have developed and interacted with each other through history. In the paper linked below, researchers have used phylogenetic analysis techniques to analyze how fairy tales have developed over history and the pathways and connections of that development. One of the results is that many fairy tales are likely to be older than previously believed.

Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktales – [royalsocietypublishing.org]

Recent investigations into the evolution of cultural diversity suggest that relationships among many languages [1–4], social behaviours [5–7] and material culture traditions [8–10] often reflect deep patterns of common ancestry that can be traced back hundreds or even thousands of years. In this study, we explore these relationships in a universally important and richly documented cultural domain: storytelling [11,12].

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