French Fries and Evolution?
In a new blog post, PZ Myers has explained an interesting hypothesis about the earliest evolutionary separation between chimps and humans -- starch digestion!
It appears that unlike chimps, humans have a propensity for carrying multiple copies of the amylase gene. Amylase is an enzyme found in saliva that begins breaking down complex sugars (like starches) into simpler sugars before they reach the stomach or intestines. The implication is quite interesting. Perhaps early hominids weren't being selected for slightly bigger brains. Perhaps slightly bigger brains were partly the result of being selected for more efficient digestion of sugars within a more diverse diet!