Re: milk and human sociobiology

Gerold Firl (
24 Jan 1997 20:31:17 GMT

In article <5c9r61$>, (Lee Thompson-Herbert) writes:
|> In article <5c5vb5$>,
|> Gerold Firl <> wrote:
|> [...]
|> >
|> >LI individuals have to slaughter their domesticates to gain any
|> >nutritive value from the animals fodder-conversion abiliity; milk
|> >drinkers can obtain a continual harvest. Boys among the surma in SW
|> >Ethiopia still subsist largely on blood and milk from cattle; it's an
|> >efficient resource-conversion system, which provides benefits to both
|> >the individual and the larger society. A culture which employs a more
|> >efficient resource-gathering technology will have a competitive
|> >advantage over the neighbors.

|> You're ignoring bacteria-processed dairy products like yogurt and
|> cheese. Lactose intollerant individuals can consume these quite
|> easily, since the lactose has already been broken down by bacteria.

I'm not ignoring it, since conversion of milk into butter, cheese, and
yogurt are important extensions of dairying, but I am assuming that
those refinements came later, after significant developments had
already been made in basic dairy culture.

I don't doubt that the milk-storage problem was tackled immediately
after surpluses were achieved, but a lot of basic knowledge and
techniques had to be derived first. Selective breeding had to be used
to produce cows who were milkable and who produced sufficient yields.
people had to change their attitudes about what constituted edible
food - I recall reading a quote which stated that most chinese
consider a tall glass of milk to be about as appetizing as a jug of
chilled spit.

I expect that by the time a culture learned how to make cheese, a
significant cultural re-alignment around dairying would have already
taken place. By then, lactose-tolerance genes would have already made
inroads into the population; access to a relatively steady source of
high-quality protein does provide a significant reproductive

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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf