Melvin J. Konner

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From a genetic standpoint, humans living today are Stone Age hunter-gatherers displaced through time to a world that differs from that for which our genetic constitution was selected. Unlike evolutionary maladaptation, our current discordance has little effect on reproductive success; rather it acts as a potent promoter of chronic illnesses:(More)
Reproductive experiences for women in today's affluent Western nations differ from those of women in hunting and gathering societies, who continue the ancestral human pattern. These differences parallel commonly accepted reproductive risk factors for cancers of the breast, endometrium and ovary. Nutritional practices, exercise requirements, and body(More)
The nutritional needs of today's humans arose through a multimillion year evolutionary process during nearly all of which genetic change re ̄ected the life circumstances of our ancestral species (Eaton & Konner, 1985). But, since the appearance of agriculture 10 000 y ago and especially since the Industrial Revolution, genetic adaptation has been unable to(More)
Although little is known empirically of the physiology of human hunting, arguments for innate biological bases of gender-dimorphic behaviors such as aggression frequently point to the role of hunting in human evolution. Study of !Kung San hunter-gatherer men demonstrated that the diurnal pattern in serum testosterone was altered during a six-day hunt,(More)
Health promotion's promise is enormous, but its potential is, as yet, unmatched by accomplishment. Life expectancy increases track more closely with economic prosperity and sanitary engineering than with strictly medical advances. Notable achievements in the past century--the decreased incidences of epidemic infections, dental caries, and stomach(More)
An anthropological perspective on obesity considers both its evolutionary background and cross-cultural variation. It must explain three basic facts about obesity: gender dimorphism (women greater than men), an increase with modernization, and a positive association with socioeconomic status. Preindustrial diets varied in quality but shared a tendency to(More)
The pattern of crying and fretting behavior during the first two years is described for 46 !Kung San infants from a hunter-gatherer society in northwestern Botswana. Despite markedly different caretaking practices predisposing to quieter infants, crying and fretting were significantly greater during the first three months, and a peak pattern was present.(More)