I'm sorry, but the logic behind the reasoning in this article is severely flawed. For a start, humans are primates and almost all primates are omnivores. The only primate I can think of offhand that is an herbivore is a gorilla. Chimpanzees hunt, kill, and eat other primates, and smaller primates are insectivores and frugivores. Primates have evolved brains and dextrous hands as weapons, and these allow them to work together in groups to hunt prey or use tools to extract insects from confined places. It's a different evolutionary strategy to animals of the carnivora order, such as lions and leopards, who need their mouths both to kill prey and to grip and tear meat because they don't have hands.
The author of the article seems to be focusing solely on the carnivora order to make its observations about omnivores and carnivores. Bears belong to the carnivora order, but not all bears are carnivores. Pandas are largely herbivorous, whereas polar bears are carnivorous, and other kinds of bear eat both meat and plant matter. Other omnivores from different orders include rats and mice and pigs.
Herbivores do not always have 'flattened nails or blunt hooves'. Rabbits and guinea pigs are herbivores, and they have claws similar to a dog's. Similarly, chimpanzees have nails and they are omnivores. Additionally, pure herbivores lack the vomiting reflex -- which humans share with other meat-eating animals such as cats and dogs. The vomit reflex evolved as a protective measure for when the animal ingests spoiled meat.
Also, several groups of people, most notably the Inuits, eat a largely carnivorous diet (and mostly raw). If humans were not adapted to this diet, Inuit people would be malnourished, have a severely shortened lifespan, and probably be unable to breed, and I have never seen any evidence presented to this effect. Much of the modern Western diet is supported by grains, i.e. processed food that is inedible in its natural unprocessed form. Without cooking, the only realistic sources of food for humans would be fruits, tubers, and raw meat. It would be extremely difficult not to become malnourished as a wild animal on this diet if no meat was available.
Bonobos have been observed hunting and eating meat (and also other bonobos) in the wild. It is not known how frequently they do this, simply because they have not been studied enough. Marmosets eat a variety of food from both plant and animal sources, and howler monkeys, while they mainly specialise in leaves, have been observed eating eggs. Geladas (which have been included twice in the list) despite being mainly grazers will eat insects if they are available.
While people like to try to classify things tidily into categories, there are not that many species who have evolved to specialise in only animal or plant sources of food, and rather more who fall somewhere between these two extremes. The argument in the original post uses data that doesn't really mean anything in order to impart an appearance of scientific credulity. I've seen the same argument on dog food advertising to claim that dogs and wolves are carnivores (which technically they aren't as they are observed to eat plant material in the wild). The lines dividing them are not that clear.
Posted by turdburger, April 15, 2014 at 05:00 AM
Posted by turdburger, April 13, 2014 at 10:21 AM
Posted by turdburger, April 10, 2014 at 05:00 AM
Posted by turdburger, April 8, 2014 at 01:45 PM
@turdburger Do you have more evidence than your statement "almost all primates are omnivores." or are you guessing?
I did a tertiary search and found that you can now add:
Howler monkeys - Leaf eaters
black-and-white colobuses - Leaf eaters
sportive lemurs - Leaf eaters
Marmosets - gum eaters
Gelada - primarily feeds on grass
...to your herbivore list with Gorillas.
Everyone on here trying to talk about the history of man's diet needs to do some serious fact checking! For thousands of years around the world the biggest component of our diet as been starch based PLANTS! Rice in Asia, barley in the Middle East, Wheat in Egypt, millet in Africa, maize in the Americas ect.. The only people who ate meat were royalty and they were just as diseased as the rest of you omnivores, they've found hardened arteries in most of the mummies in Egypt because they were wealthy and powerful enough to have a meat based diet! If you want to be really strong and healthy take a page out of the history books roman legionnaires, gladiators, the infantry men of Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, and Alexander the Great all lived and thrived on a starch based diet.
I think your article is excellent and feel it proves via one method of analysis that humans are not carnivores. However, I do not feel it proves we are meant to consume a vegan diet. In other words, it still does not prove we are meant for no animal food at all, just that we are not necessarily meant to consume animal foods in the way carnivores do, and also that much of our animal-related nutrient should come from the types of animals that do no require the anatomical features of say a lion to consume them. My point is this- one would be hard-pressed to find a logical, clinically oriented physician recommending a vegan diet, who does not also recommend a B-12 supplement. Even T. Colin Campbell takes B-12. Why? We need it and can't get it from a vegan diet. Some vegans argue that we would get it all if our food wasn't sterile and still ate the bugs that came along with food when procured in nature. What is a bug? An animal. Does eating a bug require massive temporalis muscles, etc? No. The second part of my argument is that even though we are not designed to eat meat the way a carnivore does, it does not prove we are designed to NOT eat meat, just to NOT eat meat that way. In essence, we are designed to eat bugs and....cooked meat. Humans are adapted to eating cooked food. We do not share exact anatomical features of an omnivore, a carnivore or an herbivore in the wild, we are completely unique. Why? Because we are the ONLY animals on the planet adapted to eating cooked foods. Our need to consume B-12 proves our need to consume foods that contain it, ie animal foods. Our lack of exact correlation to omnivores, carnivores and herbivores proves we are not exactly like any of them. Our closeness in design to omnivores and herbivores proves we are designed for that type of food, but not ONLY that type of food.
Isn't it funny how you can use information to get whatever results you like. The website www.second-opinions.co.uk/carn_herb_comparison4.html also uses anatomical features to compare man, dog and sheep to conclude that we are carnivores and shouldn't eat any veggies! But when you read down the list, some of the evidence includes that we don't need to chew our food and that it is impossible to survive without animal protein. No wonder they had putrefactive bacteria and small firm faeces (sorry, have to look at that site to know what i am talking about)
I like the conclusions on this site much better because they promote vegetarianism, but it would be great if there was a link to some of the raw data- like the actual lengths of the intestines of different animals, their stomach pH etc.
Nearly always when I hear about evolution it is from the past to the present, but doesn't consider the future. Even if humans were meat eaters in the past or present, we are still in the process of evolution. Just look around and compare the "meat head" mentality and intelligence level with the radiance of people who eat a balanced plant based diet with plenty of raw foods. Which direction to we want to be heading in? I think the yogis were onto something when they categorized foods according to their effect on the mind.
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