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Eat the Fat not the Greens

9 February 2019

At https://phys.org/print468604822.html … hot on the heels of the UN bleating about cattle and sheep raising as ecologically irresponsible and we should all be going vegan comes along this study which seems to confirm the former hyperventilations were all flannel and no substance. Meat on the bone is lacking in the UN procrastinations but it is the fat within the bone that is the subject of the study. It seems a taste for fat provided early humans with the nutrition to develop bigger brains – see Current Anthropology (February 2019). The argument is that our ancestors developed a taste for fats when scavenging the remains of large mammals that had been killed and gorged on by other predators. Meat eating alone is not enough to account for human brain development – although it has previously been suggested that it was cooking meat that made all the difference. The new study differs as they are primarily focussing on fats within bone marrow. This is an interesting idea if one accepts that early humans were scavengers – and no doubt they did scavenge on occasion. Sharing a meal with lions and hyenas doesn't sound all that safe – but what does anyone really know about early humans. Theory dominates. I suppose the human scavengers were left not so much with scraps but a pile of bones with bits of sinew and gristle. A bit like a cheap steak and kidney pie – lots of gristle, offal, and gravy and short on the succulent meat. Aquiring fat rich marrow from a bone only requires a rock to smash the bone. This is therefore all tied up with mainstream ideas on the evolution of humans from brute to big brain which of course might be over simplified. Meat eating humans required sharp tools made from wood, bone or stone. These are not evenly distributed in the archaeological record as wood easily rots and disappears and bone also in many situations. Rocks and flints can be broken by natural means and it takes a certain eye to catch where humans worked the stones lightly – adding an edge. 

The not spoken point about this study is that early humans most likely ate their greens (various leaves and herbs as well as fruits) but they would not have developed from animal to adept humans without the fats.

At https://phys.org/print468575071.html … love them or loathe them brussels sprouts are an interesting addition to the diet. They are part of the cabbage family. It seems that all the various members of this extensive family of vegetables is under threat from a spreading disease – but biotechnology is coming to the rescue in a field near you.

   … nice looking cabbage but you can see that caterpillars have been munching on the outer leaves. Might slugs be lurking in the inner leaves?

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