Anthropologist Margaret Mead once noted that in the mammal kingdom, a fractured bone (specifically the femur) never has the chance to heal. Prey mammals can’t escape. Predators can’t chase. The sick and injured are always the first on the menu. When a broken bone heals, it leaves a permanent scar in the bone, and a healed femur has never been found in fragment or fossil. There is a singular exception to this rule, Mead observes — humans beginning about 15,000 years ago.
Throughout the world today, people are looking at the oldest generations and learning a difficult truth about why those who survived in times of global strife carry the lessons of frugality even in times of plenty. Keeping gardens. Saving food for hard times…Those are the people who were ready to fall, the people who will help the broken bones to heal.