Co-evolution of humans and their foods: cross-disciplinary perspectives (IUAES Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition) 
Helen Macbeth (Oxford Brookes University)
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Tuesday 6 August, 9:00-10:00, 11:00-12:00, 14:00-15:00 (UTC+0)

Short Abstract:

Coevolution, adaptation and interaction of humans and their foods from prehistory to today in different environments, different technologies: cross-disciplinary perspectives: palaeoanthropology, biological and cultural anthropology, nutrition, archaeology, genetics, epidemiology, ethology, etc.

Long Abstract

Throughout their evolution, humans and their ancestors have not only survived and adapted to changes in their natal environments but have migrated, often rapidly and over long distances, requiring them to adapt to and find food in a wide variety of new and different environments. That adaptation has not only been molecular, physiological and anthropometric, but also imaginative, technological and cultural.

ICAF promotes cross-disciplinary discussions concerning human food and nutrition. This panel will provide the opportunity for anthropologists (palaeo-, biological, nutritional, cultural, etc.), as well as archaeologists, nutritionists, evolutionary biologists, molecular geneticists, epidemiologists and others, to exchange information on the co-evolution of humans and their foods, from prehistory to the present, in all inhabited environments, in subsistence, agricultural and industrial economies. Important aspects of their survival in such different environments are human food technologies and the physiological ability to digest a wide variety of diets, especially when the foods are transformed with cooking.

The topics to be discussed include early exploitation of plant and animal species for food as well as more recent and contemporary control of the reproduction of domesticated or managed food resources. Because foods have been important in the adaptation and evolution of humans, discussion is anticipated concerning hypotheses about the early development of human anthropometrics, digestive tracts, enzymes in saliva, etc, distinct from closely related species, as well as the increasing information on contemporary human genetic diversity assumed to be derived from adaptation to different dietary components, including those apparently occurring since the adoption of agriculture.

Accepted papers: