The Mastadon and Pumpkin Pie Connection

I have read some strange evolutionary fairy tales and many of them are hilarious.  Here are a few I recall: humans evolved a big brain because we ate more meat.  Grandmothers exist because it benefits the younger female to have more children.  Humans are hairless because it reduces parasitism.  Humans walk upright to carry food.  Women have big breasts to enhance face to face copulation (why?).  Women have long hair because offspring used to cling to it.   Dinosaurs went extinct due to global climate changes caused by methane eliminated in their farts.

dinosaur-farts-illustration-120507a-02

What a stretch!

Here’s a new one.  The extinction of giant mammals like the mastodon (giant elephant) had something to do with human fondness for pumpkins.  Here is the buzz line:  If Pleistocene megafauna — mastodons, mammoths, giant sloths and others — had not become extinct, humans might not be eating pumpkin pie and squash for the holidays, according to an international team of anthropologists.  Science News

PUMPKIN SEEDS IN MASTODON POO.

PUMPKIN SEEDS IN MASTODON POO.

The article discussed how the megafauna was effective in seed dispersal.  It also went to length on how humans “probably” did not eat pumpkin because it was bitter.  But, humans may have domesticated it for use as bowls and other utensils. Somehow along the way, the pumpkin survived the extinction of the mastodon by being domesticated by humans who didn’t like the fruit anyway.

Elephant-pumpkin-Flickr-Valerie

Although the article is clumsy at showing any genuine link between megafauna, man and pumpkins, it tried to show that pumpkins “must” have become less bitter so that man would domesticate it and spread its seeds.  The article could have been entitled “Pumpkins survive the extinction of the mastodons.”  Or at least something more relevant so the fairy tale was at least interesting and believable.

Pumpkins

Seriously!  Does anyone believe that science can determine that anything like this is what happened 10,000 years ago?  And more importantly, is this even worth the time spent researching such useless information?  Thank goodness for evolution creating a less bitter pumpkin so that man would eat it when the megafauna died off.  What?

Breaking news folks: GREAT PUMPKIN MYSTERY SOLVED!

great-pumpkin-charlie-brown

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