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180k-Year-Old Mutation Allowed Humans To Become Vegetarians, Move Out of Africa 342

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-don't-eat-greens-food-eats-greens dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Early humans were able to move from Africa after a single genetic mutation allowed them to become vegetarians, scientists claim. The switch, which allowed humans to process vegetables, meant that humans were able to move away from water sources and spread across the continent. A team of geneticists compared DNA sequences from a variety of people around the world to see how different populations relate to one another and when they have gone their separate ways. The scientists found that a key genetic variant gave humans the ability to convert fats from plants into essential nutrients for the brain."
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180k-Year-Old Mutation Allowed Humans To Become Vegetarians, Move Out of Africa

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  • Vegetarian? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @04:09PM (#41414775)

    Wouldn't that be omnivores?

  • by Nyder (754090) on Friday September 21, 2012 @04:22PM (#41414941) Journal

    unless they mutated away to live without water, humans did NOT move away from water.

    I'm pretty sure they still lived around water. Rivers, Springs, Oases, Wells, whatever, but they needed the water.

    But what do i know?

  • Re:Vegetarian? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Friday September 21, 2012 @04:30PM (#41415043) Homepage Journal

    Sshhh! We're trying to push lifestyles and agendas here people, thinking is not allowed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @04:46PM (#41415255)

    The headline is flamebait. The editors know the Slashdot nerds will see the term "vegetarian," become furious, and click on the article, and post furious posts, which will generate more furious posts and more page views. Profit!

  • by Urza9814 (883915) on Friday September 21, 2012 @04:57PM (#41415389)

    What's wrong with the summary? We no longer needed to get those nutrients from meat -- we could survive solely on plant life. Therefore, we could become vegetarians.

  • Re:Vegetarian? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WillKemp (1338605) on Friday September 21, 2012 @06:46PM (#41416455) Homepage

    That's not true. There are a few non animal sources if B12. I was vegan for 14 years and i didn't just seem healthy, i was healthy - healthier than i would have been if i was a lacto vego.

  • by jd (1658) <.imipak. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Friday September 21, 2012 @08:59PM (#41417605) Homepage Journal

    (1) is often referred to as a "founder event", particularly by people like Ken Nordtvedt, who studies human migrations through genetics as a hobby.

    (3) There are an estimated 200 mutations in the Y chromosome alone every generation, be they extra copies/deletions of something (known as a short tandem repeat) or a change in a single nucleotide (known as a single nucleotide polymorphism). Most of this is in "junk" DNA (now known to be control sequences and metadata - a prediction many had made for two or three decades at least, and I've been making on Slashdot for 10+ years) but it's also found in coding sequences. Most genealogy (eg: by Family Tree DNA) is done with the "junk" DNA, most prior health work (eg: by 23AndMe) has been done on the coding sequences but expect that to change to everything at some point. Studies on population migrations suggest one mutated birth (such as the ability to digest milk) can spread over most of the species in 6-7 thousand years, and markers associated with (and do not predate) the Vikings can be found in significant quantities in most inhabited continents after far less time than that. On geological timescales, this qualifies as the Newtonian concept of the infinitesimal.

  • Re:Vegetarian? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2012 @10:42PM (#41418341)

    Dairy products (say 1/4 lb of cheese or a pint of milk would be enough) and eggs contain quite a bit, though cooking eggs decreases the ability of the B12 to bind.

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