About Me: Heather Twist

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About Me: Heather Twist

Postby HeatherTwist » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:45 am

I'm a 50-some year old woman living in the Pacific Northwest, in a rural area. I've always been fascinated by nature, and how animals and plants adapt to their environment. Today, I have been experimenting with better ways to grow food plants, use Black Soldier Flies to turn garbage into chicken food, growing food fish, and other interesting stuff. I've been trying to work out what human beings really *should* eat, as I've been trying to find the best food for my own family.

What has struck me, in studying nutrition, is just how dependent human beings are on the ocean. It is exceedingly difficult to be healthy, living on "inland" food. Some of the nutrients, such as iodine and DHA, are required for proper brain development. We tend to hoard copper and iron, much like the Orkney sheep that are adapted for eating seaweed. Further, many of the inland foods, such as ruminant meat and grain and even some vegies, are a bit toxic to humans, whereas the swamp plants, like rice and arrowroot, are safe even for babies. The healthiest cultures on earth, are the ones eating the most seafood.

When I was young, we lived fairly near the beach, in Los Angeles, and we spent many hours swimming and snorkling and fishing. Later I learned to scuba dive. The thing I found is that, as the Native Americans supposedly said of the Pilgrims, "Only an idiot can starve by the ocean". There are tons (literally) of food for the taking on the shore, even the Los Angeles beaches teeming with people. You don't need a fishing pole or a boat ... your average 5-year-old can ... and will! ... gather clams and small crabs and fish from tidepools. Most people can learn to swim and dive easily, which most mammals don't do at all willingly.

The other thing that struck me about some of the older fossils is that human beings seemed to have adapted "human feet" before having a large brain. This meant babies couldn't hold on to mother's fur (if Mom had fur at that point). This was a huge loss in mobility, for mothers! At least one arm would be needed to carry the baby. There must have been a big reason for that to be an acceptable trade.

So I became interested in the relationship between humans and water. I'm not so much into bone morphology or the specifics of evolution as some people are, but it's clear to me that there is a big adaptation of our species for getting food from ocean, river, estuary, or swamp sources. Based on my own experiences, quiet bodies of water, like lagoons, estuaries, mangrove swamps or lakes are much easier to deal with than a rushing river or the seashore, esp. for small children.

I appreciate this new forum. My hope is that it remains "open and rational", and welcoming for those of us who are not professionals in this field.
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Re: About Me: Heather Twist

Postby AlgisKuliukas » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:07 am

Hi Heather

Welcome to the forum. Fascinating introduction.

I think postulating a greater degree of coastal life for early humans or their ancestors might explain a lot of things about us. In terms of encephalisation, increased nutrition from the sea (e.g. higher DHA and Iodine levels) would appear to be the ideal scenario for the mutations that made it happen to have been able to have become fixed. It's interesting that a recent paper showed that human brain size had reduced slightly in the last 20,000 years which would be consistent with the idea that our "more coastal" phase only ended (or perhaps just became reduced) quite recently.

I look forward to discussing this subject with you more soon.

Absolutely. Let's keep it rational and open for all.

Waterside hypotheses of human evolution assert that selection from wading, swimming and diving and procurement of food from aquatic habitats have significantly affected the evolution of the lineage leading to Homo sapiens as distinct from that leading to Pan. (p118)
Kuliukas, A., Morgan, E. (2011). Aquatic scenarios in the thinking on human evolution: What are they and how do they compare?. In: Vaneechoutte, M., Verhaegen, M., Kuliukas, A. (2011). Was Man More Aquatic in the Past?
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