Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Study Detects Recent Instance of Human Evolution
New York Times ^ | 10 December 2006 | Nicholas Wade

Posted on 12/10/2006 2:44:11 PM PST by Alter Kaker

A surprisingly recent instance of human evolution has been detected among the peoples of East Africa. It is the ability to digest milk in adulthood, conferred by genetic changes that occurred as recently as 3,000 years ago, a team of geneticists has found.

The finding is a striking example of a cultural practice — the raising of dairy cattle — feeding back into the human genome. It also seems to be one of the first instances of convergent human evolution to be documented at the genetic level. Convergent evolution refers to two or more populations acquiring the same trait independently.

Throughout most of human history, the ability to digest lactose, the principal sugar of milk, has been switched off after weaning because there is no further need for the lactase enzyme that breaks the sugar apart. But when cattle were first domesticated 9,000 years ago and people later started to consume their milk as well as their meat, natural selection would have favored anyone with a mutation that kept the lactase gene switched on.

Such a mutation is known to have arisen among an early cattle-raising people, the Funnel Beaker culture, which flourished some 5,000 to 6,000 years ago in north-central Europe. People with a persistently active lactase gene have no problem digesting milk and are said to be lactose tolerant.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: agriculture; animalhusbandry; crevolist; dietandcuisine; evolution; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; human; milk
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-179 next last
This makes a lot of intuitive sense. It's remarkable how well they've been able to pinpoint this specific evolutionary event.
1 posted on 12/10/2006 2:44:14 PM PST by Alter Kaker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

Why, the lactase must be active in every milksot and in every sucker.


2 posted on 12/10/2006 2:49:07 PM PST by GSlob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker
the Funnel Beaker culture

Wiped out by a tragic lab accident if I'm not mistaken.

3 posted on 12/10/2006 2:50:56 PM PST by Hoplite
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

3000 years ago? What has evolution done for us lately?


4 posted on 12/10/2006 2:56:09 PM PST by Kleon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

Lactose tolerance falls a little short of deriving a new species, but those Darwinists will take what they can get.

I, for one, can see how human development of tolerance for lactose demonstrates a process by which humans could have easily developed from single cell organisms. How could I have ever had any doubts.


5 posted on 12/10/2006 3:01:12 PM PST by vetsvette (Bring Him Back)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kleon
3000 years ago? What has evolution done for us lately?

It has provided a funding source for the creationists of this world. Without evolution to rail against, Kent Hovind wouldn't have any money to embezzle.

6 posted on 12/10/2006 3:03:13 PM PST by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

Now, at last, I know what "The lacteal fluid extracted from the female of the bovine species is highly prolific to the Nth degree", was referencing...


7 posted on 12/10/2006 3:06:10 PM PST by Migraine (...diversity is great (until it happens to you)...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker
Oh, my!

I drank lots of milk as a kid without any problem. In recent years, it's a risky endeavor.

Does this mean I'm devolving??!

8 posted on 12/10/2006 3:09:37 PM PST by labette (Give love to many and trust to few. Always paddle your own canoe.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: vetsvette

Darwinists define evolution as any change whatsover. Whether helpful or harmful, whether "progress" or "regress" (meaningless terms for them, of course).

Very low threshold for this fairy tale of a theory.


9 posted on 12/10/2006 3:17:44 PM PST by Theo (Global warming "scientists." Pro-evolution "scientists." They're both wrong.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: labette
We don't know. Could be you are suffering from a case of DNA Methylation where something you ingested turned off the gene(s) that produce proteins and enzymes that allow you to metabolize lactose (before it reaches your large intestine and makes you explode, much to your chagrin and embarrassment as your body parts fly around the room).

Or, you might have the gene(s) that turn off at adulthood.

Or, you might well have a totally different gene that's doing something else while it incidentally creates proteins that react against your regular lactose tolerance gene(s).

There are so many possibilities and so little time.

Best bet is to get aholt of some "lactase" pills, or drink milk without lactose.

Not all differences in what appear to be genetic processes are a evolutionary in nature ~ some of them aren't even changes in genes.

10 posted on 12/10/2006 3:19:55 PM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah
Understood.

Hey, It's a crevo thread. Someone has to throw the first grenade.

11 posted on 12/10/2006 3:23:34 PM PST by labette (Give love to many and trust to few. Always paddle your own canoe.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

All I can say is 'MOOOOOOOOOOOO'.


12 posted on 12/10/2006 3:28:34 PM PST by layman (Card Carrying Infidel)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: labette
Oh, OK. Let's say this "gene" in Africa is different than the one in the rest of the world where people have a gene that allows them to drink milk as adults.

Let's say it's a recessive, and the other one is dominant.

You could have a population of people able to drink milk no matter what, but if the mother were carrying one of each, and had at least two kids, and one kid inherited the dominant gene, and the other kid inherited the recessive gene (the father having had neither gene), one kid could drink milk and other couldn't.

Right in the same family.

So the mad scientist comes along and discovers this family has three lactose handling genes. One dominant ~ to drink. One recessive - to drink. One "old fashioned", and to drink as a child then shut down.

Which, by the way, makes sense for a friend of mine who has several children. Some of them grew up drinking milk into adulthood. Others did so only as children. He could never drink milk, nor could his wife.

The only answer we could come up with was that he and his wife both had at least one recessive for drinking milk but everything we could find suggested the milk drinking gene was dominant.

From this one case I'm going to hazard a guess that the new gene found in Africa is a recessive.

Looks like the two different genetic strains can still cross-breed too! No species difference has yet appeared.

13 posted on 12/10/2006 3:32:33 PM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: layman
All I can say is 'MOOOOOOOOOOOO'.

I think the Times may have understated the degree of the mutation.

14 posted on 12/10/2006 3:48:46 PM PST by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah
How about the perpetual bovine lactose intolerant gene? Some babies can only tolerate human milk.

I say that the study is defective.
15 posted on 12/10/2006 3:49:30 PM PST by Lauren BaRecall (The GOP got killed by the RINOvirus.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Lauren BaRecall
True enough, but isn't the problem that those kids mount an autoimmune response against a specific protein in cow's milk?

Different gene.

More worrisome is celiac syndrome ~ there you have a gene that triggers an autoimmune response to a protein in wheat, barley and rye called gluten.

This one seems to have appeared in populations isolated in the trackless wasteland of the Great White North.

Here's your diet if you are dealing with any of these things ~ reindeer, seal and pine needles ~ maybe a chunk of lichen in a hot tea every now and then.

Love dem seal!

16 posted on 12/10/2006 3:56:17 PM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

LOL


17 posted on 12/10/2006 4:00:08 PM PST by Jeff Gordon (History convinces me that bad government results from too much government. - Thomas Jefferson)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah
As you mentioned in your earlier post, there are a LOT of possibilities.

I grew up drinking unpasteurized milk. There is quite a bit of difference in milk just in this last generation. Antibiotic "contamination", for one example. Another would be the breed of milk cow. Dairy farms are much rarer now. When you see one, you'll likely see "Holsteins". {colored like a Dalmatian} Not long ago, you would see Jerseys, Guernseys, Milking Shorthorns, and maybe others. The difference in the milk was very noticeable, even though the lactose couldn't be that much different.

I'm fascinated by some old recorded accounts from the Ozarks of an illness called "milk sick". They believed it was caused by the cow eating some type of plant and contaminating the milk. These old doctors could diagnose this condition from the odor when entering the home.

18 posted on 12/10/2006 4:00:42 PM PST by labette (Give love to many and trust to few. Always paddle your own canoe.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

Oh, ouch. Hahaha...


19 posted on 12/10/2006 4:02:04 PM PST by July 4th (A vacant lot cancelled out my vote for Bush.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

Wake me up when I develop X-ray vision


20 posted on 12/10/2006 4:04:08 PM PST by TheRedSoxWinThePennant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TheRedSoxWinThePennant

I miss funny tv of the 60's, I watched tv shows then, and I laughed bigtime...thank God, Freepers are so funny I can get my laughs here. All of you are so clever, good for you!

Bottom line re species: a cat will never be a turtle...a lizard will never be a zebra. God said ...each to it's own kind. That will never be broken.


21 posted on 12/10/2006 4:18:45 PM PST by maranatha
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: labette

"They believed it was caused by the cow eating some type of plant and contaminating the milk."

Wasn't it Jimsonweed?


22 posted on 12/10/2006 4:21:37 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry
I can't remember the specific details. The source is from a series of history books called "Foxfire". I would buy them and give them to my Dad. {After reading them first}

From my own experience, I can't say that I've ever seen cattle eat jimson weed. Simply handling the stuff leaves a smell that is hard to remove. It wouldn't seem to be very tasty. But who knows what an animal stressed with hunger might eat.

23 posted on 12/10/2006 4:36:06 PM PST by labette (Give love to many and trust to few. Always paddle your own canoe.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: maranatha
Bottom line re species: a cat will never be a turtle...a lizard will never be a zebra. God said ...each to it's own kind. That will never be broken.

I don't believe anybody's ever claimed cats turn into birds or lizards turn into zebras. But please, don't keep you from reveling in your ignorance.

24 posted on 12/10/2006 4:37:17 PM PST by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker
But when cattle were first domesticated 9,000 years ago and people later started to consume their milk as well as their meat, natural selection would have favored anyone with a mutation that kept the lactase gene switched on.

Why would 'natural selection' favor someone who could drink milk?

25 posted on 12/10/2006 4:39:34 PM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker
It has provided a funding source for the creationists of this world.

And for the anthropologists, et al. Gotta keep those grants coming. . .gotta toe the party line. ;)

26 posted on 12/10/2006 4:40:53 PM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

There is a significant amount of genetic variation between different etnic groups of humans. Blonde hair and blue eyes were and are a favorable mutation for northern European populations. Why? The paler complexion is more favorable to the absorption of UV light, needed for Vitamin D production.

However, for populations living in tropical regions, a dark skin is a favorable genetic variation. Why? For protection against much higher levels of UV light.

When the gene for sicle cell anemia is heterozygous, the gene offers some protection against malaria. However, when the individual is homozygous for the trait, the person develops sicle cell anemia, a potentially fatal disease.

In general, populations from Northern Europe, cary the gene variation for digesting lactose. The European populations had a greater need for milk, to supply the needed nutrients for producting vitamin D. However, populations from tropical regions had less need for the ability to consume milk, because they receive a lot more sunlight.


27 posted on 12/10/2006 4:41:04 PM PST by punster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: labette

Did a quick search, and it wasn't Jimsonweed, it was White Snakeroot. Abraham Lincoln's mother died from milk tainted with it. Sounds like laws were passed about fencing cattle in as a result, since they got into it running free range, it grew in forested areas.


28 posted on 12/10/2006 4:42:09 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry; muawiyah

Thanks for the info!


29 posted on 12/10/2006 4:45:38 PM PST by labette (Give love to many and trust to few. Always paddle your own canoe.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Kleon
What has evolution done for us lately?

It's brought us here...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

30 posted on 12/10/2006 4:55:35 PM PST by yeff (Liberals are like Slinkies ...useless, but fun to watch when you push them down the stairs :-)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: maranatha

Recombinant DNA technology will shortly produce an animal that looks like a cat on the outside but tastes like chicken on the inside.


31 posted on 12/10/2006 4:57:05 PM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: MEGoody
Why would 'natural selection' favor someone who could drink milk?

Because it's a food source. People who couldn't drink milk had less food to subsist on and were less likely to survive.

32 posted on 12/10/2006 4:58:51 PM PST by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: labette

LOL!!


33 posted on 12/10/2006 4:59:13 PM PST by MissEdie (Liberalscostlives)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: MEGoody
This is not "natural selection" in the sense of which tigers or wolves ate which people, but rather how long the females stayed in good health to breed more babies than the others who couldn't drink cow's milk.

Although we've come up with the term "cheese eating surrender monkey", it's actually the case that those who can eat fresh cheese will probably outlive those who can't.

(NOTE: aged cheese has little if any lactose).

34 posted on 12/10/2006 4:59:16 PM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: punster

Cows have a Northernmost limit. The gene for lactose metabolism would have limited benefit to people living North of that limit. Instead, they developed an immense appetite for fish and seamammals.


35 posted on 12/10/2006 5:03:38 PM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: MEGoody
"Why would 'natural selection' favor someone who could drink milk?

I would think the casualty rate would be kinda high if milk consumption was attempted before domestication.

36 posted on 12/10/2006 5:04:35 PM PST by labette (Give love to many and trust to few. Always paddle your own canoe.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: labette

The Sa'ami domesticated reindeer in the 1700s. However, they'd been milking them for thousands of years.


37 posted on 12/10/2006 5:06:07 PM PST by muawiyah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

YEC INTREP


38 posted on 12/10/2006 6:01:00 PM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: labette

Abraham Lincoln's mother supposedly died of "milk sick." I wondered later if it were salmonella.


39 posted on 12/10/2006 6:43:56 PM PST by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

Sigh. Is it also evolution when farmers select out sheep for their capacity to "twin" and double his production? It sure didn't take 3K years to manage that...


40 posted on 12/10/2006 6:46:34 PM PST by Mamzelle
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

If it's 3000 years ago, why does the Bible describe Canaan as a "land flowing with milk and honey"? Doesn't that quotation predate 1000 BC?


41 posted on 12/10/2006 7:30:56 PM PST by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Migraine
Now, at last, I know what "The lacteal fluid extracted from the female of the bovine species is highly prolific to the Nth degree", was referencing...

Hey mister, how is the cow???

42 posted on 12/10/2006 7:42:56 PM PST by USMA '71
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Mamzelle

Selective breeding is evolution, but it isn't Darwinian evolution, because the selection is artificial and isn't natural.


43 posted on 12/10/2006 7:54:30 PM PST by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: LiteKeeper

What what?


44 posted on 12/10/2006 8:18:09 PM PST by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: TenthAmendmentChampion
If it's 3000 years ago, why does the Bible describe Canaan as a "land flowing with milk and honey"? Doesn't that quotation predate 1000 BC?

The milk in the Bible is goat's milk, which is much easier to digest than cow's milk.

45 posted on 12/10/2006 8:20:56 PM PST by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah

Most interesting.


46 posted on 12/10/2006 8:24:07 PM PST by Ciexyz (Satisfied owner of a 2007 Toyota Corolla.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker; gobucks; mikeus_maximus; JudyB1938; isaiah55version11_0; Elsie; LiteKeeper; AndrewC; ..


You have been pinged because of your interest regarding news, debate and editorials pertaining to the Creation vs. Evolution debate - from the young-earth creationist perspective.
To to get on or off this list (currently the premier list for creation/evolution news!), freep-mail me:
Add me / Remove me



Still human beings, with a mutation acting on what's already there. This isn't anything that helps out neodarwinian evolution at all.
47 posted on 12/10/2006 8:36:07 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger ("I am here to fight evil and exchange good-natured barbs." - The Tick)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker
natural selection would have favored anyone with a mutation that kept the lactose gene switched on.
Natural selection (better known as ramdom variation)would not favor anyone it selects, and how would it know to select milk drinkers. Natural selection is a random act that brings everything back to the average.

Such a mutation is known to have arisen among an early cattle-raising people,
All right which one of them was there because they have the key to long life. Known to have is a definitive statement that can not be made there is know way scientifically to prove that a mutation happened and when.

But the 3000 year thing is close to Biblical flood time of around 4500 years when God told man to eat meat.
48 posted on 12/10/2006 8:49:20 PM PST by Creationist ( Evolution created it all from nothing in 15 billion years. Thats' not religious faith?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: muawiyah
Recombinant DNA technology will shortly produce an animal that looks like a cat on the outside but tastes like chicken on the inside.

Of course, there will be a few detours. Like an animal that looks like a chicken on the outside but tastes like cat on the inside.

49 posted on 12/10/2006 9:07:26 PM PST by Erasmus (Go to Sebastopol and Crimea River.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Alter Kaker

OK, just one question: Why did our ancestors bother to domesticate milk cows, when they couldn't digest the milk in the first place? Did they know that some day, they would become lactose tolerant? If this is evolution, wouldn't that mean our ancestors had to be drinking milk, as adults, for a long time, in the hope that some day their children, or grandchildren, etc, would mutate that gene? Wow, our ancestors were VERY forward thinking.


50 posted on 12/10/2006 10:09:25 PM PST by jim35 ("...when the lion and the lamb lie down together, ...we'd better damn sure be the lion")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-179 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson