There was a cultural revolution in Europe 9,000 years ago with the immigration of Neolithic farmers. According to some researchers, consumption of raw milk was a key factor in this cultural invasion:
It is clear, however, that the dairy farmers won out in the end. During their migration, they encountered increasingly lush pastures, a paradise for their cows. An added benefit of migrating farther to the north was that raw milk lasted longer in the cooler climate.
This probably explains why people soon began drinking the abundant new beverage by the bucketful. Some had genetic mutations that enabled them to drink milk without getting sick. They were the true progenitors of the movement.
As a result of “accelerated evolution,” says Burger, lactose tolerance was selected for on a large scale within the population in the space of about 100 generations. Europe became the land of the eternal infant as people began drinking milk their whole lives.
The new food was especially beneficial for children. In the Neolithic Age, many small children died after being weaned in their fourth year of life. “As a result of consuming healthy milk, this could be greatly reduced,” Hamburg biologist Fritz Höffeler speculates. All of this led to population growth and, as a result, further geographical expansion.
Milk: it does a body good—and it’s a devastating weapon of cultural hegemony! (H/T: PhDiva)