## Saturday 14 April 2018

### Seal Cheese

I have three "children" all fledged up and flown the nest. The Boy went to 7 or 8 different schools in 3 countries. Dau.I and Dau.II went to no schools. I can't see any quantitative difference in what they know or in their ability to work things out. Qualitative, sure, they are different people: better at math; more interested in Shaxsper; braver with the cooking; more reliable with time-keeping; safer with money; kinder to animals. How did the girls learn anything if they never went to school? There were books in the house and, in the month after their respective sixth birthday, they worked out that the glyphs on the page matched the sound of speech in a reliable breakable code. Once able to read, they could find out whatever they needed to learn. That was supplemented by talking at the dinner table. I've been over the process at greater length before.  It would often start with a question and then we'd be off round the table, round the world, trying to work out an answer. I wrote about one such Q before: "How many people make a proposal of marriage in/on the Eiffel Tower every day?" The answer is anchored in data, but you cannot look it up.  The whole family was home at various times over Easter and I was telling the girls about releasing an orphan seal at the end of March.

That set off the relentless train of questions. If a baby seal is found, do they feed it milk? A. Yes! What sort of milk? Can you make cheese from seal milk? Why do we make cheese from cow's milk . . . and goat's and sheep's? Is that an accident of availability? Or did we domesticate those animals because they have human-like milk? Or milk ideal for cheese? Did cows always have such big udders? A. Nope, we've selected them for 10,000 years so they will no longer dare jump over a thorn hedge!

Some of these questions can be anchored to data to inform and focus any speculations you might have. First catch your data! U.Illinois has a table of milk composition. From which I have abstracted the %Fat;  % Protein; %Lactose; TotalSolids%
 Fat Prot Lact Solids Human 4.5 1.1 6.8 12.6 Diff Monkey 3.9 2.1 5.9 14.5 2.5 Donkey 1.2 1.7 6.9 10.2 4 Cow 4.5 3.7 4.9 13.8 4.5 Camel 4.9 3.7 5.1 14.4 4.7 Goat 3.5 3.1 4.6 12 5.2 Horse 1.6 2.7 6.1 11 5.2 Sheep 5.3 5.5 4.6 16.3 7.4 Bison 1.7 4.8 5.7 13.2 7.6 Mink 8 7 6.9 22.6 9.5 Pig 8.2 5.8 4.8 19.9 10.4 GuinPig 3.9 8.1 3 15.8 11.4 Antelope 1.3 6.9 4 25.2 11.8 Buffalo 10.4 5.9 4.3 21.5 13.2 Dog 8.3 9.5 3.7 20.7 15.3 Elephant 15.1 4.9 3.4 26.9 17.8 Dolphin 14.1 10.4 5.9 30.4 19.8 Rabbit 12.2 10.4 1.8 26.4 22 Rat 14.8 11.3 2.9 31.7 24.4 Deer 19.7 10.4 2.6 34.1 28.7 Reindeer 22.5 10.3 2.5 36.7 31.5 PolBear 31 10.2 0.5 42.9 41.9 Whale 34.8 13.6 1.8 51.2 47.8 Seal 53.2 11.2 2.6 67.7 63 Max 53.2 13.6 6.9 67.7 63 Min 1.2 1.1 0.5 10.2 2.5
From this, I deduce that there is no such thing as milk! There are 5,000 species of mammal, they all have fur, they all have modified some of their hair-follicles to make a liquid-leaking nipple; they all use prolactin to stimulate secretory cells near that nipple; they all use oxytocin [multiprev]to help squeeze the juice out . . . with a little help from a voraciously sucking infant. BUT the quality of the juice is as different as different can be. Fat from 1 to 54%; Protein content from 1 to 15%; Milk sugar 0.5 to 7%; Solids from 2 to 63%  63% solids? That will have a viscosity like the thickest cream you can buy that isn't whipped to solidity; almost margarine. I don't think we're going to see seal cheese on the market anytime soon. I have helpfully sorted the data in the table as a % parameter difference from human PDH: which is the sum of the % difference from human milk in Fat, Prot and Lact, If you want to have a physiologically ideal milk for your orphan infant, first catch your monkey! Or, mire conveniently, a wet-nurse (who is also a primate). Below that phylogenetic similiarity you can see the usual milking suspects: cow, sheep and goat. Donkey? You may remember hearing that Cleopatra bathed daily in asses' milk: it required the services of 700 donks a day. More recently donkey milk has been productified at fabulous prices and promoted as having fabulous benefits for your chi, aura and callipygia. Mares milk is up there as well, it is widely used in central Asia fermented into koumiss. Donkey's milk cheese is available at \$1,000/kg but, hey, that's cheaper than saffron! The "Buffalo" is Buffalo, Philippine which is probably the tarawar Bubalus mindorensis which is a different species from Bubalus bubalis from which Johnny Lynch makes his Macroom Buffalo MozzarellaCamel's milk cheese can be obtained in Dubai since 2013. Other non-traditional species in the cheese business. There girls, I hope that begins to answer some of your milky questions.