As an American of European descent, I have a hard time envisioning how my paleolithic ancestors would have ever had access to coconuts given that coconut trees are native to Pacific coastal areas. However, coconuts seem to be hugely popular with modern Paleo proponents, despite the fact that many of these proponents seem likewise not descended from Pacific coastal populations.
I'm a practical guy -- I eat the meat of domesticated cattle that my ancestors wouldn't have had access to but domesticated grassfed ruminants are nutritionally the closest thing that I can reasonably get to the wild grassfed ruminants that my paleolithic ancestors would have hunted. Coconuts, on the other hand, are rather unique in the plant and animal world given their high concentration of medium chain fatty acids. Likewise, the metabolism of MCFA in humans seems to be rather unique compared to the metabolism of other forms of fatty acids. Some fans of coconuts give this as the reason for the alleged health benefits of coconut oil but, to me, it raises huge red flags.
I can find no evidence of MCFA content in large amounts in any other food source that might've been around in the paleolithic era. Milk does have some non-trivial MCFA but it's a relatively small proportion in the grand scheme of things and, of course, milk isn't paleolithic.
I'm aware of the island of Kitava where the people subsist on coconuts and cigarettes until the ripe old age of 45, free from heart disease and acne. However, it isn't unreasonable to speculate that the Kitavans may have experienced a unique evolutionary adaption that isn't relevant for the rest of us (followup studies seem to point to this as a factor) or that there may be some confounding mitigating factor involved or that there is bad stuff going on besides heart disease and acne. It seems like wild conjecture at this point to say that coconuts are good for all of us because the Kitavans eat a lot of them.
What are your thoughts on this? Why is a seemingly not very Paleo food so popular with the Paleo crowd? I do cook with coconut oil but increasingly have an uneasy feeling about it. Can you convince me that coconuts are a truly Paleo compatible food?