Marlene Zuk on the Truth about Paleofantasies

June 23, 2014

Host: Lindsay Beyerstein

We evolved to eat berries rather than bagels, to live in caves rather than condos, to sprint barefoot rather than wear sneakers—or did we? These, along with many other questions about what is or is not "natural" for humans from an evolutionary perspective are the subject of the new book by biologist, Dr. Marlene Zuk, Paleofantasies: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live. The book was recently long-listed for the Royal Society's Winton Prize, one of the most book prizes in science writing.

Dr. Zuk is an evolutionary biologist and behavioral ecologist at the University of Minnesota, where she heads the Zuk Lab. She has published many papers and books on evolution and evolutionary biology.

Lindsay interviews her about the book with a view to the "Paleo" craze in health and nutrition, asking if we really know what some claim we do about our paleolithic ancestors and what impact, if any, that knowledge should have on our lives.