We all know that Little Red Riding Hood went to visit her sick grandmother in the woods. We also knew that the big bad wolf swallowed Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. But where did she came from? Reseachers at the Durham University in England are trying to understand the evolution of the popular folk take.
In a paper published in the open access scientific journal, PLOS ONE, researchers details how it used a mathematical model to create an "evolutionary tree" showing the story's relevance with another old folk take titled "The Wolf and the Kids." They discovered that "The Wolf and the Kids," popular in the Middle East and Europe, came first in the 1st century. "Little Red Riding Hood" came 1,000 years later. Other similar stories such as the "The Tiger Grandmother" in Japan and China was also linked to the folk tale.
Head researcher and anthropologist, Jamie Tehrani, said that they use a method called phylogenetic analysis on 58 versions of the story. They also probed 72 "variables" or elements that were questionable, such as the possibility of the girl being a boy, or even a group.
"My analysis demonstrates that, in fact, the Chinese version is derived from European oral traditions, and not vice versa," said Tehrani. The researchers are planning to use the same process to shed light on other folk tales. They are also hoping to learn more about ancient human migration patterns.
Source: Agence France-Presse