Following the Food Trail, or What’s for Dinner?

  • A. J. Jaffe


The Ancestors went where the food was just as present-day Homo sapiens sapiens do; only we speak of going where the jobs are. They found food or moved elsewhere. But did they have an adequate diet? In discussing possible causes of death and the short length of life, we alluded to the possible effects of inadequate diets and food deficiencies. In this chapter we shall delve further into health problems that may be traceable to the foods eaten.


North America Wild Rice Plant Domestication Eastern Hemisphere Correct Sample 
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  1. 1.
    Carnes Smith (1981).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    This plant is found in arid areas throughout the west. It is also called “tuna” and “beavertail.”Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sometimes well-preserved plant remains are found in packrat holes. These remains may indicate changes in vegetation and/or climate over thousands of years. See Betancourt and Van Devender (1981).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dictionary definition: Any of two or more species of atoms of a chemical element with the same atomic number and position in the periodic table and nearly identical chemical behavior, but with differing atomic mass or mass number and different physical properties.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Although Catlin’s (1844) observations were made in the mid-nineteenth century, this dance, or a similar one, probably was part of Mandan culture for untold generations.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    The following comments are based on the Brothwells (1969) and Zivanovic (1982).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    An excellent discussion of the importance of iodine, and the consequences of a lack of it in the diet, is given by Greene 1980, Chapter 10.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Both the Mexicans and Peruvians claim to have domesticated this cultigen; perhaps both did. Also, maize was grown in the Amazon area (Roosevelt 1980). Because most of the Ancients who settled on the Caribbean islands came from northern South America, and some from Florida (Rouse 1963), there is the possibility that corn entered Florida and then spread northward in the eastern United States and Canada. This South America-Caribbean-Florida route is doubtful in comparison with the routes leading out of Mexico. One reason for selecting the southwest United States as port of entry is that it is within walking distance of Mexico, the origin, or one of the origins.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    It is estimated that there were between 5 and 10 million people in the entire world 10,000 years ago. By the end of the twentieth century there will be over 6 billion people, assuming that there is no natural or Homo-made catastrophe.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    See Driver and Massey (1957); also Robicsak (1978). For detailed descriptions of the Amerindian use of tobacco as witnessed by the first European explorers, see Fairholt (1976, Chapters 1 and 2).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Jaffe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.National Museum of the American IndianNew YorkUSA

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