This quote from the (great) diarist Ojibwa on "Ancient Scotland" caught my attention:
"...In addition to cereal crops, cattle appear to have been an important part of their subsistence. This suggests that they were descendants of the Homo sapiens population in Turkey about 8,000 years ago when there was a genetic mutation that allowed adults to consume milk..."
Have gone down the milk wiki well. Let me share with you what I have found about adult consuption of milk. Here's a wiki on "lactose persistence":
It has a spreadsheet showing lactose intolerance ranging from .2% for Basques, 10% for Brits, 50% for Italians, 80% for Chinese through to 100% for Native Americans.
I am old and remember a conflict between my first generation Italian parents pushing milk even though they were not big fans. I remember my immigrant grandparents not being fans of milk. Big fans of wine with parmesian cheese.
This wiki link on gene-culture coevolution is interesting:
"....Culture can profoundly influence gene frequencies in a population. One of the best known examples is the prevalence of the genotype for adult lactose absorption in human populations, such as Northern Europeans and some African societies, with a long history of raising cattle for milk. Other societies such as East Asians and Amerindians, retain the typical mammalian genotype in which the body shuts down lactase production shortly after the normal age of weaning. This implies that the cultural practice of raising cattle for milk led to a selection for genetic traits for lactose digestion. Recently, analysis of natural selection on the human genome suggests that civilization has accelerated genetic change in humans over the past 10,000 years...."
The BBC has an article on China going from no big fans of milk to milk being all the rage:
"..."When I first went to Hong Kong in the 1960s, I would bring in little pieces of New Zealand cheese. At one point the landlord, a Cantonese guy, saw the cheese and got violently ill just by the sight. It grossed him out, as much the idea of eating rotten cow's milk as anything. Now his grandchildren are eating pizza and processed cheese...."
In the back of my head there's an aversion to dairy products. I'd rather have a wine orange cooler or even better a wine whiskey manhattan :-)
Some of my earliest memories are drinking wine coolers and an occasional sip of a manhattan at my grandparents homes.
I may have a cultural aversion to drinking dairy products but i'm not lactose intolerant.
Seems with what's happening in historically milk aversion countries like China is an intersesting story of cultural changes trumping natural selection.