Reply to d’Huy et al.: Navigating biases and charting new ground in the cultural diffusion of folktales

Published on Oct 10, 2017in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America9.58
· DOI :10.1073/pnas.1715139114
Eugenio Bortolini4
Estimated H-index: 4
(UPF: Pompeu Fabra University),
Luca Pagani23
Estimated H-index: 23
(UNIPD: University of Padua)
+ 10 AuthorsJamshid J. Tehrani11
Estimated H-index: 11
(Durham University)
In their letter, d’Huy et al. (1) challenge the novelty of our study (2), and question the reliability of some our results in the light of previous folkloric research and geographic biases in the Aarne Thompson Uther (ATU) index (3). In our reply we explain how their criticisms are already largely addressed in our paper (2) or based on misunderstandings that we clarify below. As we make clear in our report (2), the idea that the diffusion of folktales might be linked to migration histories is in fact a very old one, and certainly not one we claim for ourselves. Our study investigates … [↵][1]1To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: eugenio.bortolini2{at} or jamie.tehrani{at} [1]: #xref-corresp-1-1
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Bortolini et al. (1) claim to infer patterns of folktale diffusion using genomic data. What is not said in their paper is that such a proposal is not new. For example, Korotayev and Khaltourina (2) showed statistical correlation between spatial distributions of mythological motifs and genetic markers, considerably above the 4,000 km proposed by Bortolini et al. (1). Such correlations allow us to reconstruct in detail the … [↵][1]1To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email: Julien.dHuy{at}...
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E.B. is supported by SimulPast Consolider Ingenio Project CSD2010-00034 funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Competitiveness. L.P. is supported by the European Union through European Regional Development Fund Projects 2014-2020.4.01.16-0030 and 2014-2020.4.01.15-0012.
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