In our book, I called lactose-tolerant people “mampires”, mutants that live off the milk of another species. I think this is a really neat word. But I cannot take credit for it: it was invented by my son Roderick Cochran when he was 11.
He has also invented the word “florsh”, which is what happens when you laugh so hard while drinking that stuff comes out of your nose. Canonically, root beer.
These neologisms amuse me.
So, in that I am lactose INtolerant, I’m the normal guy?
Depends on how long your tolerance lasted. The ‘normal’, if I remember correctly, was a bit longer than the average weaning time- so around 4 years old. My tolerance lasted until I was 20- which would have given me a massive head start in surviving childhood, finding a wife, and providing for my first kid or two in the evolutionary environment, but didn’t quite last me through college in the modern environment!
Ah, so. I wasn’t aware that the intolerance could/would appear more fully as one ages, but, indeed, that’s how it has been with me. I moved to Stockholm form California when I was 65 (10 years ago) and found that most food markets carry a wide variety of lactose-free products. That’s when I switched and found relief from most of my alimentary canal distress which seemed to have intensified in my late 50s.. Less than a year ago I was visiting family in San Jose and discovered almond milk, which one of my granddaughters uses occasionally. To shorten the story, I now make my own almond milk from powdered almonds (available locally in Stockholm) and have eschewed all milk products. My guts are the happiest they’ve ever been.
I want an answer to the question, “Does dairy consumption during childhood increase height via the IGF 1 pathway?”
Benjamin Phelan in Slate just used the term, linking to your book. Is that what sparked this post?
I’d note that it’s an especially neat word because it can evoke “man”, “mammal” or “mammary”.
Good stuff. There isn’t enough humor in science, and certainly there aren’t enough humorous _scientists_, so you are appreciated. This is linked to and riffed on here:
That Slate article (citing Mark Thomas) says it’s a mystery why lactose tolerance was so highly selected, since long before people were fermenting the lactose out of milk. I’m guessing Cochran & Harpending don’t think it’s such a mystery, since they didn’t give any indication of that in their book. So what’s the problem with the fermentation objection?
They suggest prolonged tolerance is adaptive because milk calories are lost through fermentation.
The archaeology and linguistics suggest that the early IE people were horse people mostly. A kg. of mare’s milk has 190 KCal of fat and protein and 250 KCal of lactose. Whether or not lactase non-persistence leads to a belly ache, a non-persistent child or young person only gets the 190 KCal. A persistent person gets 440 KCal from the same milk, an increase of 230%. This must have been a very big deal indeed.
This calculation is incorrect. An increase from 190 to 440 is not an increase of 230%. It’s an increase of 132%.
General Butt Naked found that eating the hearts of freshly murdered innocent children made him invisible and invulnerable to bullets. It worked so well he created The Butt Naked Brigade which killed upwards of 20,000 people in the nation of Chad. This charming bunch would prep themselves with drugs, booze, and childrens hearts, and then wearing nothing but gym shoes and an AK47 would go on a killing spree. General Butt Naked had such extraordinary powers he became the personal witch doctor of the the president of the nation of Chad.
OK it is supposed to be on topic. There is a movie I might just fast forward through if it is free, Abraham Lincoln verses the Vampires. Someone has got to make a documentary on quite posssibly the biggest fool who ever really existed, General Butt Naked . But since those don’t attract big audiences I suggest an action movie General Butt Naked versus the Mampires.
Was Liberia, not Chad.
There is a musical about General Butt Naked, called “The Book of Mormon.” Probably it takes some liberties though.
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