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Diet, Disease & Environment.docx

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Dan Popowich

Diet, Disease + Environment in Evolutionary Perspective Paleoenvironment during the Pliocene +5 degrees Celsius & water 25m higher than current conditions. A variety of disease causing microbes existed. 1) Contact with water borne & soil borne microbes (Giardia & Schistomiasis) 2) Contact with vector borne microbes (Mosquitoes & Tsetse Flies) 3) Contact with animals & their microbes (Botulism & Worms) Hominid Environment & Diet 1. Fresh Water - Drinking from snail infested fresh water sources - Schistosoma worm would have affected early hominids - Schistosoma transoni – This worm probably diverged from its ancestors around the time of early hominids & became a regular problem with the invention of agriculture Schistosoma Facts - Contracted in snail inhabited fresh water - Life cycle between humans & snails - Morbidity: 200 Million people worldwide (2010) 2. Contact with vectors - Given the environment of the Pliocene – Africa: A number of organisms would have been present - Mosquitos are 150 Million years old - Plasmodium evolved 50 Million years ago - Hominids emerged 23 Million years ago - Bipedal Hominids 6-5 Million years ago - Trypanosomiasis evolved 500 Million years ago (African sleeping sickness) - Tsetse fly evolved around 150 Million years ago - Early Hominids during the Pliocene & Pleistocene would have been affected 3. Diet - Meat appears to have become a regular part of our diet around 2.5 Million years ago - With regular meat consumption 1) Brain size increases 2) Increased prevalence of worms Disease associated with Beef/Fish - Ascaris lumbricodis (worms) feces & larva contaminated food, soil & water - Swallow larva & they hatch - 35cm long up to 1000cm at a time - 1.3 Bill
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