A Bit Cheesy

Our hunter-gatherer roots are something that still has a lingering attraction to many as it seems to signify independence. However, in the early days of our development it required a deal of cooperation if we think about the hunting part. But sometime after about 10,000years ago we began  (slowly) to see the light.

Farming became a job opportunity. Organizing crops? Well, yes, but the big advance was domesticating animals. Now one could have Sunday Brunch walking around outside your hovel. Clearly one needed more than one and from there to the herd with the next understanding that the babies were more tender than the oldies, so now there is a quandary.

Farmers of all those thousands of years ago, like farmers today, seem to come with a ‘careful’ streak. So what to do with the milk after the babies were eaten, whether of cows, sheep, goats, or horses? You see all those thousands of years ago, adult humans were all lactose intolerant.

But of course technology came to their aid about 9,000 years ago in parts of Turkey, a little bit later in North Africa ending up in Britain about 6,000 years ago. The milk was fermented to make yogurt and cheese which made farming a really successful way of life (1, 2).

The most recent evidence comes from digs in Libya where bits of pottery had milk fat products remaining, and after 8,000 year they are a bit cheesy. Cheese is a great way to store your protein and fats and is easy to take with you on little excursions to your favorite cave to complete your rock art showing pastoral scenes of cows and people with pots tending the herds (2).

  1. http://news.discovery.com/history/milk-ancient-africans-120620.html
  2. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7403/full/nature11186.html

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