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turdburger


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turdburger

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News: Health

The Comparative Anatomy of Eating

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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.

News: Health

The Comparative Anatomy of Eating

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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.

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