The oases of northwestern China have served as a crossroads for nomads and farmers for thousands of years. But figuring out where the early inhabitants of what is now known as the Tarim Basin came from—let alone which languages they spoke—has long challenged linguists and archaeologists. The answers to this seemingly obscure mystery could, however, help explain why nearly half the world's population speaks one of more than 400 interrelated tongues, as Michael Balter writes in the May Scientific American. This video provides insight into what life might have been like for some of the ancient peoples of the basin.
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World Linguistic Diversity