Lamarck and Darwin -Reply

Jim Jaszewski ab975 at
Tue Jun 27 22:39:45 MDT 1995

On Tue, 27 Jun 1995, Lisa Rogers wrote:

> Jim, I'm curious about what you think the effects of agriculture and
> fire have been on genes and physiology, and by what mechanism.  Or
> were you asking me?

	As for agriculture/animal 'husbandry', I'm not too sure, as there
seems to have been different types of 'selection' in different times:
scarcity and overpopulation vs. good times on the family farm...

	There has CLEARLY been been selection for the ability to digest
animal milk among some peoples, and not others. A fraction of caucasians
cannot digest animal milk, to this day. I would expect that a MUCH higher
proportion of orientals, especially Japanese, cannot either -- though I've
never heard this explicitly stated...

	Perhaps also, there's been an UN-selection, as the ability to
metabolize many alkaloids from the many plants eaten in hunter-gatherer
societies might have been lost...

	As for fire (my favorite): besides the obvious loss of body hair,
I would think that the major selection has been in the brain -- the
genetic basis of social evolution. Just look at how we are drawn, like
moths, to the 'electronic hearth' -- the boob tube... The hearth, besides
the obvious physical factors of hot, burning fire and smoke on physiology,
is where the extended family (gens) met to hammer out its organization,
which was selected for in a Darwinian manner.

	Getting back to the more physical factors, I would say that cooked
food had much to do the 'receding' of our jaw, probably changes in the
digestive system, parasites, on and on...

> (This is one of the overlaps between my field of
> evolution/ecology/anthropology, in which I specialize on
> hunter-gatherers, and marxism.)

	So you study 'primitive' communism... (much left unsaid...)



   Jim Jaszewski   <jazz at>

   WWW homepage:   <>


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