Chestnut

农作物的秘密性生活

阿伯里斯特威斯—科学家估计,地球上有400,000万种以上植物,其中至少有一半可供人类食用。事实上,完全有可能我们可以吃300,000种植物。但我们只消费其中极小部分。因技能广泛而成为数量最大的物种——智人只吃大约200种植物。引人注目的是,仅仅三种农作物——玉米、大米和小麦——就占了我们从植物中摄取卡路里和蛋白质的一大半。

奇怪的是,几乎没有人试图解释为何我们只消费如此区区几种可食用植物。口味不是原因。营养价值也不是。我们食用的植物通过一代一代的选择进行强化,农民不断选择最易种植、营养价值最高和收成最好的品种。你也许不喜欢吃西蓝花,但它也许比300,000种其他可食用植物中的大部分都更好吃。野生植物味道像是野生植物,因为它们仍然是野生植物。但为什么会这样?

地理学家兼科普作家贾雷德·戴蒙德(Jared Diamond)在《枪炮、细菌与钢铁》(Guns, Germs, and Steel)一书中指出,我们的菜单之所以长度有限,原因在于植物本身。戴蒙德指出,在农业仍处于雏形阶段时,我们的祖先非常擅长识别适合驯化的极少数物种。戴蒙德的“适合驯化”指的是没有毒。

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