Did honey boost human evolution?

Here’s a great piece on the role honey may have played in delivering bulk calories to early human (and proto-human) bands. I didn’t realize that the 25,000 year old Altamira Cave paintings depicted honey robbing, but I’m not surprised.

No mention of alcohol, but modern beekeepers working in modern, humidity controlled, temperature controlled spaces report “bottle bombs” of honey sometimes when they aren’t even trying to ferment it. It seems unavoidable that communities with more exposure to the elements and lacking screw-on lids and such would have developed a certain ABV in their honey, and it’s also likely that they considered this a benefit.

For a video look at how a traditional Tanzanian community brews with honey, check out the Tanzania episode of the show Three Sheets (link opens to Google search results. The show has also been available on Hulu). As a beekeeper and mead maker, I enjoyed the short segment on “Bee Brew.”


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