steakIf you though today's meat recall was cause for alarm you don't know the half of it: It's in our genes to love meat! Human beings eat way more meat than any of our primate relatives, who are mostly vegetarians. But not us. We've got the teeth, we've got the tools, and now scientists are saying we've got the gene mutations.

About 500,000 years ago the human gene apoE mutated to allow us to eat more raw meat without getting sick from contamination. (Hmm...) 226,000 years later another gene mutation helped us to break down fats better. It also helped us move cholesterol to our brain cells where it made our minds more powerful. That's right, meat even made us smarter.

 

 

Of course, we've been eating meat for a couple million years -- back when it was killing us. And... huh, that's funny. We're still eating meat even though it sometimes makes us dangerously ill. I guess some things never change. Of course, back in the day we sometimes noshed on carcases left by other animals. Thank goodness we stopped doing that! (Except for you road kill chefs.)

But does knowing this change anything? Regardless of what scientists say we're evolved to eat there are people who LOVE to eat meat. And there are people who HATE to eat meat. And good luck getting anyone to meet in the middle on this issue. Right now there are people writing into the Wall Street Journal accusing them of meat propaganda.

Whatever. I think it's interesting to know what we had to evolve in order to handle eating meat on a regular basis. Those of us who love to eat meat -- it's not just because we think it's yummy. It's because our bodies can handle it.

Why do you like or dislike meat eating?

 

Image via waferboard/Flickr