The ancient origins of fairy tales

A new study by cultural anthropologists shows that popular fairy tales may be older than previously believed, some dating back as much as 2500 years. The experts traced the origins of the stories through many cultures around the world.

Some stories, such as "Little Red Riding Hood," have common threads in countries such as China and Iran, and relate to psychological factors that most cultures share. The newest study was conducted by Dr Jamie Tehrani, a cultural anthropologist at Durham University, using "techniques used by biologists to create the taxonomic tree of life, which shows how every species comes from a common ancestor." Tehrani writes, "By looking at how these folk tales have spread and changed it tells us something about human psychology and what sort of things we find memorable."