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The famous 19th-century fairy tale [collective / collector] Wilhelm Grimm suggested fairy tales [dated / dating] back thousands of years. Scientists now support his [theorise / theory] and claim that many of the fairy tales we know and [love / loving] could be over 4,000 years old. Anthropologist Jamshid Tehrani and folklorist Sara da Silva say the oldest [knowing / known] fairy tale dates back over 6,000 years to the Bronze Age. This is a [time / timely] between the Stone Age and Iron Age when humans first started [made / making] tools from metal. Dr Tehrani studied the [evolutionary / evolution] of our early languages. He found strong [links / link] between a tale called "The Smith and the Devil" and the Proto-Indo-European language - an ancient [commonly / common] language that dates to around 6,000 years ago.

The two scientists analysed 275 tales for [elementary / elements] of culture that existed before modern languages like English, French and Italian. They say well-known tales [like / similar] "Beauty and the Beast" and "Rumplestiltskin" are at [last / least] 4,000 years old. Dr Tehrani said: "It's remarkable that these stories have [survival / survived] so long without [being / been] written down. They are older than the English language and would have been [first / fast] told in a language that is now [extinct / extinction] ." Many of the fairy tales we know today were first written down in the 17th century. Dr Tehrani says the new [finds / findings] suggest that: "A [substantial / substance] number of magical tales have existed in Indo-European [aural / oral] traditions long before they were written down."

 
 

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