- Lehrbuch: 216 Seiten
- Verlag: J F Bergin & Garvey; Auflage: New. (30. März 2002)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0897897366
- ISBN-13: 978-0897897365
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 1,6 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 906.689 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
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Human Diet: Its Origin and Evolution (Englisch) Lehrbuch – 30. März 2002
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Diet is key to understanding the past, present, and future of our species. Much of human evolutionary success can be attributed to our ability to consume a wide range of foods. On the other hand, recent changes in the types of foods we eat may lie at the root of many of the health problems we face today. To deal with these problems, we must understand the evolution of the human diet. Studies of traditional peoples, non-human primates, human fossil and archaeological remains, nutritional chemistry, and evolutionary medicine, to name just a few, all contribute to our understanding of the evolution of the human diet. Still, as analyses become more specialized, researchers become more narrowly focused and isolated. This volume attempts to bring together authors schooled in a variety of academic disciplines so that we might begin to build a more cohesive view of the evolution of the human diet. The book demonstrates how past diets are reconstructed using both direct analogies with living traditional peoples and non-human primates, and studies of the bones and teeth of fossils.An understanding of our ancestral diets reveals how health relates to nutrition, and conclusions can be drawn as to how we may alter our current diets to further our health.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
PETER S. UNGAR is Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Arkansas.MARK F. TEAFORD is Professor, Dept. of Cell Biology and Anatomy, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
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The book is a collection of nine previously published research papers, edited by a professor of anthropology, Ungar, and a professor of biology and anatomy, Teaford. They are also joint authors of two of the papers. There are no fewer than 560 references to other books and articles, or 3.5 per page. The rigor of the contributing authors' scholarship is very high, and the vocabulary is not modified for general readership. This is not an entry level treatment of the subject of prehistoric hominid diet, nor of diseases of affluence, and if you do not feel prepared for a graduate level seminar, then you may be disappointed. The problem is that there is nothing written for the general reader on this topic (except for anecdotal treatments), so you may simply wish to endure diminished comprehension rather than pass over this excellent book.
The editors state two objectives. The first is to consider the significance to contemporary humans of the evolution in hominid dietary preferences. The second is to indicate the methodologies used to determine those preferences. The book is fairly successful in the first objective, and highly successful in the latter.
The working assumption, thoroughout the book, is that, physiologically, we are the end result of some two million years of evolution since the first of our Genus evolved, yet we consume a diet which is different in the extreme from that of our ancestors. This "discordance" disrupts the long-established and delicate equilibrium between our physiological needs and our dietary composition. As the theory goes, this suboptimal composition results in numerous "diseases of affluence."
Substantiating this theory, the editors' ultimate objective, requires an extensive exploration of early hominid diets, which comprises the bulk of the book (and is a wonderful read), followed by a demonstration of the ill effects of divergence from this diet. The paleontological evidence for early hominin diets is comprised of dentition architecture, mandibular biomechanics, rehydrated coprolites, as well as dental and ossius isotopic ratio analysis. This evidence is coroborated with comparisons to the diets of existing Pong, and Pan Genera, whose genomes are still rather close neighbors of ours. It is further cooborated with studies of existing Homo sapien hunter-gatherers. The conclusion of this considerable effort, spanning several chapters and years of painstaking fieldwork is that there is actually no such thing as a single "paleolithic diet." This conclusion is necessary because hominids were exceptionally omnivorous, their habitats were variable, and their use of tools increasingly overcame some physiological limitations to food exploitation. While this conclusion might have discouraged other editors, Ungar and Teaford forge ahead to the health consequences of our modern dietary choices.
I strongly recommend two chapters in particular, "Evolution, Diet, and Health," by Eaton, Eaton, and Cordain, and "Hunter-Gatherer Diets: Wild Foods Signal Relief from Diseases of Affluence," by Milton. Moreover, even the highly technical chapters finish with "Conclusions" sections, which are accessible to the general reader.
If you are experienced in the vocabulary of paleoanthropology, and still have unanswered questions about the diets of early hominids, you will find the answers here. You will also learn that, notwithstanding Homo sapiens' vaunted omnivorousness, and adaptability to every ecological niche, there are definite limits to what we can consume. Our species passed that limit some ten thousand years ago, and natural selection works far too slowly for us ever to adapt.
Interesting tidbits but inconclusive, since humans from various eras and various parts of the world ate differently, and still do today.