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December 30, 2003

Alcohol consumption & relative fitness

Steve Sailer has been asking about the genetics of alcohol from a geographical angle. I'm curious, but another thing I've always wondered (and related to the question about Muslims and alcohol he is asking), I have read that many Mediterranean people drank alcohol (diluted) because it acted as a sterilant in urban situations where bad water could kill. With the spread of Islam, alcohol was forbidden, and and it seems that in the urban context if alcohol ~ anti-bacterial agent Christians and Jews would have a fitness advantage.

On a related note, I have read that the correlation between latitude and spice in food can be explained by the anti-bacterial properties of many herbs-in the tropics spoilage being more of a problem (especially in areas without salt).

Posted by razib at 03:43 PM