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Punctuated Equilibrium?

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  • Punctuated Equilibrium?



    punctuated equilibrium A model that holds that the evolutionary process is characterized by long periods with little or no change interspersed with short periods of rapid speciation.


    Assuming that the theory of punctuated equilibrum is correct, how many generations would it take for us humans to adapt to new food sources?


    Considering the wildly different environments where humans live, isn't it possible that those of us with different ancestry have different nutritional needs? For example, people from tropical islands thrive on coconut, French people need wine and french bread, etc.


  • #2
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    The big problem is that even IF our bodies successfully adopt to grains and starches, I don't know how many of our kind will make it that far seeing how majority of food supply is leaning towards highly processed and genetically modified foods.

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    • #3
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      But, there are plenty of folks out there who are into whole grains; sprouted Ezekiel bread, steel cut oats, that sort of thing. Isn't it possible that their ancestors are the founding fathers of agriculture who planted the first wheat fields?

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      • #4
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        I'm bumping this back to the top, because I think it's a crucial issue to address as far as defending the Primal Blueprint from an evolutionary standpoint.


        If humans are able to adapt to a new food supply within 500 generations (I arrived at that number using 10,000 years ago as the advent of agriculture and 20 years per generation) then that means there are a great many people who may react best to a high-grain diet.


        (I'm just playing devil's advocate here, since I personally avoid grains.)

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        • #5
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          This adaptation would require a random genetic mutation that somehow lessened grain intolerance. Members of the species possessing this mutation would then have to outbreed the members who do not possess it. Therefore, increased grain tolerance would have somehow have to dramatically increase fecundity. I suppose you could make the argument that individuals who are able to successfully consume more grain products would be more likely to thrive and produce more offspring in an agricultural society. I am not sure how a causal link between successful grain consumption and increased reproductive capability would be established; I assume it would involve identifying a "grain-consumption" gene.


          I think that your reasoning aligns more with Lamarckian evolution rather than Darwinian in that it seems to infer a linear, deliberative process. Was that the idea that the original quote was based upon?

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          • #6
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            dragonmamma, PE is useful to describes different rates of speciation, but does not mean that organisms can dramatically change in short periods of time.


            That being said, and taking into account that the main driver of evolution is natural selection, I think Humans are an interesting case.


            The human gene pool is probably much more diverse than before due to the fact that we can survive and reproduce today regardless of being blind, handicapped, etc.


            Does the above make humans more readily adaptable to new environmental variables such as diet? Maybe.


            Every human being is unique and so will be it's reaction to a given diet.


            However, the above does not contradict the fact that, as human beings, we evolved to take advantage of a certain range of environments by developing complex anatomical and physiological mechanisms to do so.


            Again, can a small amount of time and random mutations trigger changes in human anatomy and physiology resulting in the general population being able to *thrive* with tubers/grains? Maybe. But I think it is very unlikely.

            “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
            "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
            "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull

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            • #7
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              I don't think so. You're assuming that there was a grain intolerance in everyone to begin with, rather than a range of reactions to it. It seems quite possible to me that the agricultural revolution could have favored the humans who were well able to utilize those food sources, and that there were groups in different areas that came in contact with various cultivated carb sources (rice, corn, tubers, wheat) at different times.

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              • #8
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                dragonmamma, where are you going with this? Are you suggesting that human beings today could possibly have evolved to thrive on grans and tubers due to punctuated equilibrium? Or maybe that we have been able to thrive on grains/tubers all along?

                “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
                "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
                "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull

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                • #9
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                  Ha, ha, you discovered my hidden agenda!


                  Where I am going with this is that perhaps not EVERYONE thrives on the same diet. Some of us may be healthiest on the primal diet, while others may be better off as vegetarians.

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                  • #10
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                    I feel that there is no pressure from the environment to selects these grain tolerant genes. The typical intolerant individual today does not develop a disease which kills them before they pass on those genes. We develop many of the symptoms later in life. The other thing is that the time frame since industrial gains have been around is more like 100 year. Heck hybridization has only been widespread for about 60 years. Today we are seeing new foods that never existed before. I'm just the heretic muttering to himself on the street corner, but our food supply is nothing like it was 100 years ago and guess what we are sicker than we ever have been. I know I'm the crazy guy.

                    It's grandma, but you can call me sir.

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                    • #11
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                      I'm not suggesting that we've changed quickly enough to adapt to Frank-n-foods in a hundred years, but that we MAY have broken into various groups more agreeable to various food sources within a 10,000 year time span.


                      Why does everyone assume that we STARTED OUT with a grain intolerance?

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                      • #12
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                        Dragonmamma, everything is possible.


                        Science talks about scenarios with different degrees of certainties, not absolutes.


                        If you are convinced that you have evolved to thrive on a diet composed of potatoes because you feel good eating them, then I have nothing else to add.

                        “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
                        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
                        "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull

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                        • #13
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                          but why does it matter unless you have a time machine and are going to go back and get us some of the good grains of the past. I may be wrong but I don't think the "grass-fed" analog to grains exists? Maybe spelt or something like that is a link to the past, but still why? If you want to eat them, by all means read up on fermenting grains and have at it.

                          It's grandma, but you can call me sir.

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                          • #14
                            1



                            Jeez-louise! Did I say I was living on potatoes?? My daily carb intake is 100-150 grams. I have a sweet potato maybe every third day. I don't consider that to be the least bit excessive, and I just betcha Mark Sisson doesn't, either.

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                            • #15
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                              Maybe you are right, maybe we started out completely tolerant, but damn if evolution didn't back fire on us and a large majority of us are now suffering from intolerance.

                              It's grandma, but you can call me sir.

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