Over half of the global human population suffers from lactase nonpersistence, a condition marked by losing the ability to digest lactose after infancy. However, a minority of the global population, primarily located in Central and Northern Europe, has a genetic mutation that results in lactase persistence, which is the continued ability to process lactose after infancy. This interdisciplinary analysis blends archaeology, cultural anthropology, evolutionary biology, and archaeogenetics to explore the origin and rise of lactase persistence in Europe and its contribution to the end of hunter-gatherer societies in Scandinavia. Furthermore, the paper uses gene-culture coevolutionary theory to argue that lactase persistence was introduced to Scandinavia by an outside culture and attempts to identify the geographical and cultural origin of the genetic mutation.



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