Scientists are on the case! (Read the full strip.)
A new study has determined that Neolithic European farmers couldn’t digest dairy. Scientists at University College London and Mainz University in Germany examined skeletons from between 5480BC and 5000BC, in search of the gene that produces lactase (the enzyme which enables the digestion of the milk sugar lactose). Some time between then and now, Europeans mutated to produce the gene, while many non-Europeans never developed it, and have suffered the imposition of dairy on their diets.
UCL’s Dr Mark Thomas seems hopelessly Eurocentric in his assessment that “this is probably the single most advantageous gene trait in humans in the last 30,000 years.” But some of his other arguments hold more water: being able to digest milk gave ancient Europeans a “big survival advantage” as it was less contaminated than stream water; and it was available year-round, unlike crops.
So, while civilized people in the rest of the world learned to store crops through non-productive seasons, white people mutated to drink milk.