Re: milk and human sociobiology

Gerold Firl (
23 Jan 1997 00:09:27 GMT

In article <5c6487$>, (Robert Snower) writes:
|> (Gerold Firl) wrote:

|> >Doesn't seem likely. Lactose intolerance (LI) is common among many
|> >mammels upon reaching adulthood; it is the norm, rather than a trait
|> >which actively evolved in humans.

|> I didn't know that. Are you sure it is the norm among primates?

Nope. My information on the subject is pretty scanty. Here is the
source of my claim above: "In Sherratt's view (A.G. Sherratt, in I.
Hodder, et. al., eds,, _patterns of the past_, cambridge uni. press,
1981, and personal communication, 1982), developments from scattered
places were gathered together in northern mesopotamia (or at any rate
on the fringe of the fertile cresent)c. 6000 years ago, as a package
in which the plow was the salient invention. Thence it radiated north,
south, east and west, in association with the milk-drinking mutation."
"Almost all mammals lose the ability to digest milk sugar
(lactose) after infancy, and milk is then harmful to them; the same is
true for most human beings." (Nigel Calder, _timescale_, 1983, p.

So, I don't know for sure whether any other primates are lactose
tolerant, but the close association between a culture of stock raising
and milk drinking, linked with hereditary lactose-tolerance, makes
it appear that adult milk-digestion is a capability which co-evolved
with the domestication of cattle.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf