A Sweet Evolutionary Advantage


In a recent paper, Alyssa Crittenden, an anthropologist and behavioral ecologist, at the University of Nevada, points out that wild honey is one of nature’s most energy-rich foods. It is 80 to 95 percent sugar and, if left unprocessed, contains both protein and fat from bits of bee larvae. As a rule, hunter-gatherers struggle to find calories: a scoop of honey supplies a huge hit.

In her ethnographic research on honey consumption, Crittenden discovered that human hunters have long targeted bee hives. The artists who painted Altamira cave in what is now Spain some 25,000 years ago, for example, left depictions of bees,  honeycombs, and—most amazing of all,  in my opinion—honey collection ladders.

Colin Schultz add that if "it’s true that honey is one of the pillars that brought us so far as a species, that lends extra gravity to the recent epidemic ravaging honeybee populations known as colony collapse disorder."