Investigators argue that the same factor responsible for much of the biodiversity in the Galápagos Islands is also responsible for the linguistic diversity in the Japanese Islands: the natural oceanic barriers that impede interaction between speech communities. Therefore, spatially isolated languages gradually diverge from one another due to a reduction of linguistic contact.
"Charles Darwin would have been amused by a study like this, because it confirms his hypothesis that languages, like species, are the product of evolution," said lead author Dr. Sean Lee.
Science Daily. 2014. “Oceans apart: Study reveals insights into evolution of languages”. Science Daily. Posted: September 2, 2014. Available online: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902144255.htm