9 Pages

The Determinants of Dairying and Milk Use in the Old World: Ecological, Physiological, and Cultural

WithFrederick J. Simoons

This paper weighs the various hypotheses that have been advanced by scholars to explain a curious problem in the geography of food and nutrition. This problem is why, in pre-modern times, two practices—dairying and use of the milk of domestic animals in human diet—failed to spread into all parts of the Old World where milkable animals were present. The conclusion is reached that this failure cannot be explained, as is commonly done, in terms of a single determinant, that instead one must acknowledge the role of a series of interrelated influences deriving from human ecology, physiology, and culture.