Europeans were lactose intolerant for 4,000 years

in science on (#2VWY)
New research has revealed that ancient Europeans adapted the ability to digest dairy much later than expected. It’s long been known that after humans transitioned from hunter gatherers to farmers, many populations also evolved the ability to tolerate lactose, a sugar found in dairy. But new DNA evidence now shows that this ability evolved much later in certain populations - and for 4,000 years ancient Europeans were eating cheese, despite not being able to stomach it.

Scientists had estimated that lactose tolerance must have evolved around 7,000 years ago or more, when cheese-making first started. But the researchers found that the genes didn’t actually appear until 3,000 years ago. The next step is to map the distribution of the lactose-tolerant gene further, and find out more about how our genetics changed in response to our diet.

This seems to show that human evolution doesn't happen as quickly as expected, and lends some credence to the saying: Starving people have no food allergies.

Re: and so the chimney was invented (Score: 1)

by on 2014-12-15 01:09 (#2VY9)

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, direct from the History Channel's Modern Marvels episode on toilets & sanitation:
You realize how bad the situation was if you look at the palace of Versailles. A fortune was spent in constructing it. It had these wonderful halls of mirrors, elaborate chandeliers, and you might have a thousand people being entertained. Eating and drinking copiously, but where did they go to the bathroom? There was not a single bathroom in the entire elaborate palace. And the answer is, they went in the stairwells. One of the reasons the French applied so much perfume during that period was to overcome all of the indoor odors from people relieving themselves.
And the idea that a man walks on the left side of the female dates back to this time. It was polite for him to get hit by the contents of the chamber pot and spare the woman.
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