Estonian traces in the tree of life concept and in the language family tree theory

  • Urmas Sutrop


In this paper the tree model – a well-formed tree is shortly described. After that the language family tree model by August Schleicher is treated and compared with the Charles Darwin’s tree of life diagram and metaphor. The development of the idea of the linguistic trees and the tree of life is considered historically. Earlier models – scala naturae – and tree models, both well-formed and not-well-formed are introduced. Special attention is paid to the scholars connected to Estonia who developed the idea of tree models: Georg Stiernhielm was the first who pictured a language tree already in 1671; Karl Eduard Eichwald published an early tree of animal life in 1829; and Karl Ernst von Baer influenced the tree of  life models and diagrams of Charles Darwin.


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