News Stories

Neanderthal Taste Test

Some people like broccoli and some people don't, and those who do may be related to Neanderthals! This is even more likely if you're a redhead.

Most people find the chemical PTC too bitter, but 25% can't taste it at all, and these are the people who enjoy broccoli. It's due to the kinds of taste buds we have on our tongues, and analysis of Neanderthal bones that are almost 50 thousand years old show that they would have liked broccoli fine (assuming there was any around in those days).

Since scientists assume that aversion to bitterness may be a protective mechanism that stopped early gatherers from eating poisonous plants, could this be one of the things that killed off the Neanderthals? Sometimes, when we get new information, we realize that it's time to change our assumptions.

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