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Why are we surprised?

Published by Guzzler in the blog Guzzler's blog. Views: 447

Our ancestors did quite well, don't you think, they came down from the trees and developed a taste for protein. Subsequent evolution saw our hominid forebears walk upright, develope communication beyond squeals and grunts and learn of the value of using tools.
They harnessed the use of fire making protein even easier to metabolise.

About ten thousand years ago some bright sparks planted seed and the era of farming grain began. This allowed our hunter gatherer ancestors to stave off starvation and death. However.....

The grain sown then was the species grass that bears little in relation to modern grains which have been bred, naturally and in a genetically modified way, for its energy value and pest resistance etc. This gave way to the monocultures we see around the world today which arguably result in denuded soil poor in nutrients and described by some as sterile. But I am getting ahead of myself.
In my opinion the success of homo sapiens has an awful lot to do with one simple factor, adaptability. Adapting to food sources and enviroment is key and these adaptations happened quite quickly in evolutionary terms which brings me to the reason I post these musings.

Ten thousand years is a mere blip on the evolutionary clock. For most of that time we have adapted, migrated and progressed, lengthening our lifespans, developing our cultures and ending up at the point whereby we can to a greater or lesser extent manipulate our enviroment to suit us. So what went wrong?
Another personal opinion. It starts off with population growth. Taking aside the great plagues that saw the death knell of humans to a (conservative estimate) of one third fewer, we have been quite successful at producing sprogs and lowering infant mortality, on the whole. Which means that we needed more resources. Then came the era of exploration (aye, I know that is a big jump in time but stick with me, dear reader). The mediaeval saw an explosion of new technologies allowing man to go further more speedily and to bring novel items back to e.g dear old Blighty. We get to the early modern era (yes, I am looking at you Tudors!) and the introduction of sugar and potatoes. Virtually arriving in western Europe together. So that is 500/600 hundred years which, on the evolutionary clock, is not even speck, a single second in time.
Come forward to the Industrial revolution and the advent of modern farming practices. The population numbers are not decreasing, food has to be available and plentiful and on demand. Trade is enhanced by technology in transport. Generally, people have more leisure time to explore their passions in information and knowledge and things in the main are still looking positive. Then it all goes pear shaped about 150 ish years ago. Technological advances in food production and in transport means that grain based foods, sugar and the humble spud become the norm. Within the last hundred years or so there has been an explosion of man made foodstuffs that have been battered with chemical and industrial processes to the point that they bear almost no resemblance to their original state. But more importantly, for most of the population of this planet, food has become cheaper. We arrive at the point where we live in perpetual harvest time and it is a harvest gathered from all four corners of the world.

My point? Our success as a species may just prove to be our downfall.
Stay well folks and don't have nightmares.
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