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Thread: Lactose Intolerant Prehistoric Northern European Hunter-Gatherers

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    Lactose Intolerant Prehistoric Northern European Hunter-Gatherers

    BMC Evolutionary Biology 2010, 10:89 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-10-89

    High frequency of lactose intolerance in a prehistoric hunter-gatherer population in northern Europe

    Helena Malmstrom et al.

    Abstract (provisional)

    Background
    Genes and culture are believed to interact, but it has been difficult to find direct evidence for the process. One candidate example that has been put forward is lactase persistence in adulthood, i.e. the ability to continue digesting the milk sugar lactose after childhood, facilitating the consumption of raw milk. This genetic trait is believed to have evolved within a short time period and to be related with the emergence of sedentary agriculture.

    Results
    Here we investigate the frequency of an allele (-13910*T) associated with lactase persistence in a Neolithic Scandinavian population. From the 14 individuals originally examined, 10 yielded reliable results. We find that the T allele frequency was very low (5%) in this Middle Neolithic hunter-gatherer population, and that the frequency is dramatically different from the extant Swedish population (74%).

    Conclusions
    We conclude that this difference in frequency could not have arisen by genetic drift and is either due to selection or, more likely, replacement of hunter-gatherer populations by sedentary agriculturalists.


    http://dienekes.blogspot.com/

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    Let me just say that this is insignifigant because every single Jew I've had an acquantance with has been lactose intolerant. Although this could be true for Northern Europeans, they are not the only ones who have a tendency to be lactose intolerant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feisty goddess View Post
    Let me just say that this is insignifigant because every single Jew I've had an acquantance with has been lactose intolerant. Although this could be true for Northern Europeans, they are not the only ones who have a tendency to be lactose intolerant.
    I think you didnt understood the article.

    Modern Northern Europeans are among those populations which have lowest Frequency of Lactose Intolerance, but here its about Hunter-Gatherers from Neolithic times.

    In my opinion it was a combination of genflow/immigration of more successful Neolithic people into Scandinavia + selection.

    Because the frequency of lactose tolerance today is lower than in Scandinavia practically everywhere in the Europid sphere...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agrippa View Post
    I think you didnt understood the article.

    Modern Northern Europeans are among those populations which have lowest Frequency of Lactose Intolerance, but here its about Hunter-Gatherers from Neolithic times.

    In my opinion it was a combination of genflow/immigration of more successful Neolithic people into Scandinavia + selection.

    Because the frequency of lactose tolerance today is lower than in Scandinavia practically everywhere in the Europid sphere...
    Apparently I didn't understand it. What I still don't understand is why would these hunter gatherer people switch over from being lactose intolerant to having a tolerance for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feisty goddess View Post
    Apparently I didn't understand it. What I still don't understand is why would these hunter gatherer people switch over from being lactose intolerant to having a tolerance for it.
    Okay say your a group of people and you raise cattle for its milk and meat.
    Over time these people would get use to drinking milk.As these peoples
    population grew they needed to find somewhere else to live and also a place
    where they could raise their cattle.The lowlands of the continent of Europe
    looks like a good place,lets go live there.So you migrate with your people
    and cattle to these lowlands and low and behold,somebody else is already living there.
    But these people hunt for food and also gather roots,berries,bugs,
    mushrooms and things that only grow in the spring summer months.You could just imagine how hard that would be right.You don't know how to grow a garden and who knows when that deer is going to show up.I bet that was some tough living.

    Now just imagine yourself being a woman during these times.You have a child
    who is hungry 24/7 and daddy is having a hard time bringing home the bacon.
    But you notice across the river your new neighbors.They are doing just fine
    because they no longer have to hunt for their food.Their food just seems to
    "Hang" around like cattle,pigs,goats and chickens tend to do.They also are drinking a white liquid called milk.
    Now being a woman who cares about the welfare of her children,you want to
    be up there with the "Joneses" so you decide to hook up with one of the single guys across the river.Now life is good,you still can't drink that milk
    without throwing up,getting a belly ache or the runs but you and the kids
    got all the rib eyes and bacon a girl could ever want.You also added a couple of new kids to the mix.

    Those children now have the gene that causes you to not be lactose intolerant and they bred and passed it on to most modern day Europid people.
    Slowly but surely most of the male "Hunter Gatherer" types were bred out in favor of sedentary agriculturalists,or what you or I would call a farmer.
    Why,Its called natural selection.This sort of thing happens all the time.You ever heard of someone getting a divorce because the man is not making enough money and the wife ends up getting with another guy who makes a lot of dough.Now just imagine being a guy 10,000 years ago and
    you can't bring home any food but the guy across the river can.Where do
    you think the woman are going to go.

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    It makes quite a bit of sense when you think about it. I never knew that that is how things like lactose intolerance came to be. Things like that could explain why I have a slight overbite. Natural selection and our genetics are very interesting things to think about.
    Last edited by Stormraaf; Friday, April 2nd, 2010 at 01:05 AM. Reason: removed unnecessary full-quote

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    Sedentary is not really what describes early herder-warrior and mixed farmer-warrior people the best and thats what we are talking about.

    Lokies Domain described an option, most likely it happened at many times that way, but that wouldnt explain the dominance of certain Eastern and Southern lines in various parts of Europe - at least not, if they are really younger like the new chronologies tell us.

    Because in such a situation the male hunter gatherers would be assimilated too and their bloodlines would have survived with a similar chance of success, since it doesnt matter if the male or female has the lactase persistence or not.

    Actually, many Northern hunter-gatherers were less mobile than early slash & burn farmers and herder/mixed farmer-warriors. It was the later which made the final thrust into Northern Europe, not the first, the first were partly pushed back or assimilated by the hunter gatherers actually, which were more sedentary in various places, living from sea food, fishing, hunting and gathering in rather limited areas.

    The newcomers on the other hand were much more mobile, took their herds, seeds, whole inventar and weapons, mostly likely on ox-wagons and probably already some horses with them. In a second phase they used already metal, at least copper and they might be identified as Indoeuropean people.

    Everywhere they came, they pushed aside older populations, sometimes they mixed more, sometimes less with the locals and most of the time they took the wide, open and flat land, but avoided the forests, mountains and swamps - mountains became just interesting as a source for ressources later.

    So it can be discussed whether "sedentary" in the later sense of the word is really appropriate in describing the difference. They were rather on a different and higher cultural level which used a different cultural inventar, including more complex buildings, tools, methods of food production etc.
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    I didn't even know what lactose intolerance was until I was a teenager. I can guzzle a carton of milk and eat a block of cheese, and I feel fine. But I don't, as it's not exactly healthy

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    Quote Originally Posted by SaxonCeorl View Post
    I didn't even know what lactose intolerance was until I was a teenager. I can guzzle a carton of milk and eat a block of cheese, and I feel fine. But I don't, as it's not exactly healthy
    What is the problem people have with dairy nowadays? I don't understand it, its perfectly nutritious especially for women who need lots of calcium.

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    I thought I was becoming lactose intolerant as I grew older, but it turned out that I was intolerant to the chemicals they put in dairy products these days. I stated buying or bartering my milk, cheese and butter from the Amish and now I can have all the dairy products I want.

    Could it be that what the animals were grazing on caused this effect ?
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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