Abstract

I think it is reasonable to assume that early hominin infants, like those of modern hunter-gatherers, would have depended on breast milk for sustenance during the critical first year following birth, and very likely for some considerable time beyond (Kennedy 2005; Sellen 2007). If high-quality protein was the “nutrient among nutrients” underwriting the astounding encephalization that we see in our Plio-Pleistocene ancestors, one would expect that importance to be resoundingly reflected in the composition of human breast milk. This is patently not the case, however (Robson 2004; Sellen 2007). In fact, human breast milk is one the lowest-protein milks in the mammalian world, right along with the milks of the great apes and many other primates (Amen-Ra 2007:1149; Bell 1928; Ben Shaul 1962; Darragh and Moughan 1998; Davis et al. 1994; Goedhart and Bindels 1994; Hambraeus 1994; Hinde 1986; Jelliffe and Jelliffe 1978; Jenness 1985, 1986; Jenness and Sloan 1970; Lönnerdal 2003; Malacarne et al. 2002; McCullagh and Widdowson 1970; Milligan 2007; Milligan and Bazinet 2008; Milligan and Oftedal 2007; Milligan et al. 2008; Oftedal 1981, 1984; Oftedal and Iverson 1995; Patiño and Borda 1997; Power 2006; Power et al. 2002; Schmidt-Nielsen 1986; Siewert 2003:173). For example, according to Davis et al. (1994:1126):

Keywords

Breast Milk Human Milk Brain Growth Large Brain Human Breast Milk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Museum of AnthropologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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