Main content

Despite being highly toxic, the roots of the cassava plant are a vital source of nutrition in many countries. They also shed light on the hidden social forces that support a modern economy.

Available now

10 minutes

Last on

Mon 19 Aug 2019 03:50GMT


The Curse of Konzo

Geoff Watts “Hans Rosling: Obituary” The Lancet Vol 389 February 18, 2017

Melbourne to the Gulf: A brief history

Jared Diamond Guns, Germs and Steel WW Norton (New York, 2005) p296

Joseph Henrich The Secret of Our Success Princeton University Press, Woodstock 2016. Chapter 3 & Chapter 7.


Robert Boyd and Peter J. Richerson The Origin and Evolution of Cultures Oxford University Press 2005.


Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


The recent Queensland floods will trigger the germination of one of the strangest and most notorious plants in Australia.


Peter Longerich Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. 2010 pp281-282


Hipólito Nzwalo, Julie Cliff “Konzo: From Poverty, Cassava, and Cyanogen Intake to Toxico-Nutritional Neurological Disease” PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 Jun; 5(6)


Amy Maxmen “Poverty plus a poisonous plant blamed for paralysis in rural Africa”


"Processing of cassava roots to remove cyanogens" J Food Composition Analysis. 18: 451–460 Cardoso, A.P.; Mirione, E.; Ernesto, M.; Massaza, F.; Cliff, J.; Haque, M.R.; Bradbury, J.H. (2005).


Maxime Derex, Jean-François Bonnefon, Robert Boyd, Alex Mesoudi “Causal understanding is not necessary for the improvement of culturally evolving technology”


“Social Learning in the Real-World” (2016)


Tyler Cowen and Joseph Henrich in conversation