Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We're Vultures

According to the latest research:

Twice, however, since human beings diverged from chimpanzees a few million years ago, the human gene called apoE has mutated, giving us distinct versions. Overall it is the strongest candidate around for a human "meat-eating gene" (though it isn't the only candidate). The first mutation—well before humans learned to control fire some 500,000 years ago—seemed to have boosted the performance of killer blood cells that attack microbes, like the deadly microbes lingering in mouthfuls of raw flesh. This mutation also protected against chronic inflammation, the collateral tissue damage that occurs when microbial infections never quite clear up.

In other words, we're descended from carrion eaters. On the other hand, fish has to be fresh to be edible. Maybe our remote ancestors lived on fresh fish and carrion. There's a salami in my refrigerator. Maybe I'll eat it next week.

ObSF: The line “human vultures, not human wolves” from one of Cordwainer Smith's stories. “The Gentle Vultures” by Isaac Asimov. Now excuse me, I have to peck out the eyes of some dying creature …


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