Essay about Human Adaptation

Essay about Human Adaptation

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Human adaptation regarding food takes place through three primary mechanisms; genotypic, phenotype, and socio-cultural changes. Genotypic adaptation is one way in which people adapt to food, as form of genetic evolution. One explanation and example of genotypic evolution is the Thrifty Genotype Hypothesis. The Thrifty Genotype Hypothesis attempts to explain the variation in effects of Type II diabetes, particularly in modern Native/Indigenous peoples. The hypothesis gives reason to believe that the adaptation of high concentration of among native populations occurred to increase survival in times of feast or famine. It is thought that in times of subsistence hardship, through the process of natural selection, individuals with the ability to store fat survived, perpetuating and favoring the ability to store fat and increase insulin resistance.
However, this once beneficial trait has since caused complications among diabetes prevalent societies. 50% of the Pima Native American populations in southern Arizona have diabetes type II. Also, there is a more than 60% prevalence of diabetes among Nauruan of Nauru Islet (Diamond, 1992; 362). A culture that in the past experience great lengths of famine became wealthy through colonization and their specific diet has been altered and replaced with nutrient deficient foods. In both cases contemporary Western lifestyle is the causation of this diabetes-inducing trait. Possibly, the hunter-gatherer diet which was rich and diverse, the introduction of high caloric nutritionally reduced foods into the adapted diet and a concurrently shift in cultural behaviors and activities, the fat being stored did not turn into lean muscle but remained fat and increased insulin resistance, altering the gen...


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...t food can be used for medicinal purposes. Food, as in plants, animals, and minerals, have been manipulated and used to treat ailments beyond hunter-gatherer society. Knowledge about potency and purpose of certain plants is the basis for the modern day medicinal practice of Homeopathy. Evidence supporting experiences of specific herb use of Comanche medicine woman, Sanapia, in which certain herbs were used to induce vomiting, numb and affected area, and reduce swelling had been observed and proven to work .
It is human’s relationship with food that has solidified the continuous adaptation and survival of the species. The various ways that adaptation occurs in nutritional anthropology show a diverse response to change and pressures, from developmental to cultural that can manifest in adulthood and either prove to optimize fitness or illustrate maladaptive traits.

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