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Milk is the “Ultimate Superfood” Says Evolutionary Geneticists (Dec 14, 2012)
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Milk is the “Ultimate Superfood” Says Evolutionary Geneticists

Archeologists Discover Cheese-Making Process Hasn’t Changed Much in 7,000 Years

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

Have you ever thought when the first cheese-making process took place? Well, according to a recent paper published in the journal Nature, cheese-making can be traced back to 7,000 years ago. What’s most intriguing about this discovery is that the process of making cheese hasn’t changed much.

Evidence pointing to ancient cheese-making has been found in unique clay vessels that were discovered by archaeologists in the 1970s in Northern Europe. The vessels were strange because they had tiny holes in the clay vessels.

When the vessels were first discovered they stumped archeologist who thought they may have been used for hot coals, straining honey or even in beer making. However, one archeologist thought they might have been used in cheese making.

However, for decades there was no way to prove what these vessels were used for, until now. New archeological technics have advanced so much that they even allow researchers to examine the residue that had once seeped into the clay. What archeologist found is that the chemical residue matched that of a cow’s milk.

Dairy products helped lead humans into modern civilization. Through the evolution from hunting to cultivating the land, dairy products provided a way for humans to get the most basic nutrition that was needed for survival and most importantly, it didn’t require killing livestock.

"Milk is a superfood — it's probably the ultimate superfood," says Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London.

Thomas who studies the DNA of early cheese makers, says that in Neolithic times humans were what are known today as lactose intolerant, because they were unable to digest the sugar in milk.

Given this constraint, cheese making was discovered simply because the process removed most of the sugar in the milk that makes people lactose intolerant.

With this boost in energy that cheese provided, it allowed humans to spend more time perfecting farming and cooking techniques. Who knew cheese had such a rich history that contributed to our survival? Cheese remains a popular food choice for many people around the world.


 
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