[ExI] Outsourcing digestion
danust2012 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 25 23:39:47 UTC 2019
> On Aug 25, 2019, at 3:33 PM, Keith Henson via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> An amusing consideration is that some groups of humans outsourced part
> of their digestion by eating dairy products. Those products are
> derived from grass which, of course, humans cannot digest.
That’s a little loose way of calling it outsourcing. I mean by ghetto reckoning a cheetah has outsourced its digestion if grass by eating meat. I think the metaphor would be stronger here if humans were grass eaters who never ate any firm of dairy and switched to dairy as a way of weaning off grass.
> This happened over the last 8000 years.
The whole “secondary products” revolution is interesting and there’s some controversy over it. I haven’t kept up with the latest work on this.
Cooking and other food preparation techniques that long preceded the use of secondary products — probably going back 500,000 years or more — seem closer to outsourcing digestion. Cooking and many other preparation techniques tend to substitute for parts of digestion and make easier for the rest. _Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human_ by Richard Wrangham makes a case for this and for its affect on human evolution. He compares how little time and energy humans have to put into chewing and other aspects of digestion compared to close relatives like chimps and more distant relatives like carnivores.
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