Milk, surely one of the strangest components of our diet?

Wednesday, 31 October, 2012

An interesting run down of the history of our consumption of milk, something that, going back twelve thousand years ago, wasn’t possible much beyond infancy, until we quite suddenly became lactose tolerant:

In an evolutionary eye-blink, 80 percent of Europeans became milk-drinkers; in some populations, the proportion is close to 100 percent. (Though globally, lactose intolerance is the norm; around two-thirds of humans cannot drink milk in adulthood.) The speed of this transformation is one of the weirder mysteries in the story of human evolution, more so because it’s not clear why anybody needed the mutation to begin with. Through their cleverness, our lactose-intolerant forebears had already found a way to consume dairy without getting sick, irrespective of genetics.

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