[LMB] OT: Genetics & Culture

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Thu Nov 16 23:22:48 GMT 2017

No, the reason humans need dietary vitamin C is that for some unknown
reason our distant ancestors lost the enzymatic pathway to synthesize it.
Other mammals can make it - indeed, one reason Native Americans in the far
north didn't get scurvy is that they ate certain organs, or all their meat,
raw.  I vaguely recall one ethnologist discussing how after hunting a moose
and butchering it for cooking and preservation, (I think) the adrenal
glands were carefully cubed and distributed raw to everyone in the tribe.

We survived despite losing the ability to make this essential nutrient
because our early diets were rich in it.  But as far as anyone can
determine, there's no benefit to having lost it.  Unlike the caecum or the
vomeronasal organ, say.  (We technically still have a vestigal,
nonfunctional version of both.)

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