By Lindell Bromham
What can we learn from focussing on examples of interdisciplinary research where ideas or techniques from one field are imported to solve problems in another field? This may be in the context of interdisciplinary teams, or it may simply involve borrowing from one field to another by researchers embedded within a particular field. One of the major benefits of interdisciplinary research is the chance to swap tools between fields, to save having to reinvent the wheel.
The fields of evolutionary biology and language evolution have been swapping ideas and tools for over 150 years, so considering the way that ideas have flowed between these fields might provide an interesting case study.