Frank Jacobs – Thematic Maps

Frank Jacobs is an artist who specialises into the research of the unpredictable . He started to document his work together in the form of a blog in 2006 to show these findings that take the form of maps, the interesting ungeneric ones are what ultimately appeal and inspire him. For an example into his popularity, his map entitled – US States Renames For Countries With A Similar GDP, was viewed on his blog more than 587000 times. An anthology of his work was then collated and put together in book form, which can be bought from Barnes and Noble or more alternatively Amazon.

lactase-hotspots2Milk Map (2013)

His work on the Milk Map which documents lactose intolerance among humans from just after the ice age, almost has a thematic feel. for the most part his maps are informative, they neatly set out the information in an easy to read, colour coded format that provide the viewer with all of the gathered information in an attractive and appealing way.

The recent scientific studies into the this particular area of research that Jacobs looked into suggest that farming across prehistoric Europe may be directly related with the increase of people who built up an immunity to Lactose after birth. The map itself depicts the old world and is made up of the 3 main continents that were interconnected some thousand years ago.  It shows that the areas in modern day Europe which would have been more heavily farmed have a higher percentage of people who are more able to drink lactose freely, these areas are depicted in dark blue. The areas in white alternatively show those regions where there is a higher percentage of people who are lactose intolerant, and consequently it is thought that these areas are so pale in comparison due to the regions being more sparsely populated and as a result the ancient tribes that lived there would be more adept to hunting and gathering as opposed too farming.

In the 1970’s an archeologist known as Peter Bogucki was excavating at a Polish site when he found a clay dish which was perforated with a whole manner of holes throughout the basin. This dish was set aside for a number of years and remained a mystery until it was later examined at the university of Bristol in 2011 by Roffet-Salique. After this examination miniscule pockets of milk fats were found and researchers concluded that this evidence of cheese making was the oldest in the world as the dish would have been used to separate the whey out of the cows milk to produce either cheese or yogurt. Product which naturally have a lower dosage of lactose and so can be consumed by humans a lot more easily. Shortly after farmers discovered this method of fermenting milk, a genetic mutation took part in the human race which allowed them to drink milk and consume the lactose sugars much more freely. This was useful to the ancients that lived over 7000 years ago because it produced a supplement that would sustain communities whenever the harvest failed.




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