I wanted to better understand what happened between the paleolithic age and agriculture. This book came highly recommended.
The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran is an excellent book that goes directly after the theory that humans stopped evolving 40,000 years ago. In fact, the book makes a solid case that we are still evolving and at an accelerated pace.
This intuitively always made sense to me. All one has to do is look at carbohydrate metabolism. I was able to eat a moderately high amount of grain and never exceed 20% body fat. I don’t do that anymore, but compare my experience to that of native cultures just exposed to modern foods, especially Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. The island of Nauru was just exposed to processed carbs and now 95% of the population is overweight. A huge decline in health after initial exposure to processed foods is exactly what Dr. Weston Price discovered when he traveled the world in the 1930s meeting traditional cultures.
The book explores a lot of interesting evidence, genetics, and history. I really enjoyed this book. Does it alter my take on the paleo diet? Maybe a little. I’m clearly of Northern European descent and can handle dairy quite well. So although the paleo diet frowns on dairy, I think I can handle it just fine. Will I ever reach for a Mountain Dew or return to cooking with canola oil? Absolutely not, as no population has time to evolve to extract nutrients from highly inflammatory seed oils or junk food. But someday they might.