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Paleofantasy

What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live by Marlene Zuk

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10:00am, May 3, 2013

Proponents of the paleo diet believe the mismatch between today’s Western lifestyle and that of early humans is making us fat and sick. Our bodies haven’t had time to adapt to our new ways of life, the thinking goes, so eating like our ancestors is the ticket to good health.

This notion that our lives are out of sync with the way humans were meant to be is a fallacy, or a “paleofantasy,” claims Zuk, an evolutionary biologist. With piles of evidence from recent genetic and anthropological research, she offers a dose of paleoreality.

Homo sapiens emerged about 200,000 years ago, but humans haven’t stopped evolving. “No organism gets to a point of perfect adaptation, heaves a sigh of genetic relief, and stops,” Zuk writes. In the last few thousand years, for example, Tibetans in the Himalayas have adapted to living

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