(U.S.) Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live
- also (same link): LONE SURVIVORS: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth
By Chris Stringer, Times Books, March 2013
Your mom’s advice to “eat your fish, it’s brain food,” may be more than 50,000 years old: a diet high in aquatic resources was a feature and perhaps a driver of fully modern (symbolic, social, linguistic, technological) human behavior....
PALEOFANTASY: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live
Marlene Zuk Norton, March 2013
What’s the 21st century’s mythical golden age? The Pleistocene! Current fads in diet, exercise, and gender generalizations insist we should live and eat like “cavemen,” and call agriculture humanity’s “worst mistake.” Dissidents who view this paleo-nostalgia as suspect or silly have now found their standard-bearer in evolutionary biologist Marlene Zuk. A marvelous explainer, who can translate technicalese into plain English without lapsing into baby talk, Zuk debunks many pop-sci misconceptions, such as the one that says evolution proceeds only glacially slowly, so our Stone Age genes ill fit us for modern life and food. On the contrary, she shows, our very genes reveal that many of us have evolved quite recently to digest milk and grains, and we’re evolving even faster as large populations provide more mutational fodder and more-virulent pathogens to drive selection. Contrary to the caricature of the nuclear “cave family” fed red meat by hunter Dad, evidence suggests that paleo families were extended, roles flexible, and “even the manly Neanderthals” munched carbs. Zuk skewers the delusion that adaptation is (or was) ever perfect, that any product of restless evolution—let alone Homo sapiens—is ever a done deal.
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