Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by pluto2, May 2, 2009.
Other than elevate your methyl-mercury levels and endoparisitic load, nope!
Log in or Sign up to hide all adverts.
Well, yeah. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! What's a few parasites between friends? Srsly, I am fine. No freaky mercury levels. No buggies.
Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
You're committing the common mistake of confusing the unscientific word "carnivore," which describes any animal whose diet includes a major proportion of meat, with the biological word "carnivoran," which refers to any mammal of the order Carnivora.
Humans' ancestral species were indeed not carnivores, and they also were not carnivorans. They were primates, and meat was not a major component of their diet. Most primates have extremely long intestinal tracts that support a rich symbiotic bacterial culture. This gives them the ability to break down cellulose and digest it, making them true herbivores like cattle. Watch the primates in the zoo and you'll see them all munching on leaves, perhaps even bark and roots.
Humans cannot do that. We have to break the cells down by cooking them before we can digest the cellulose in leaves, roots and bark. That's why, when it's raw, we call that stuff "roughage;" it's undigestible and provides the bulk to move the more compact waste products of other food through our digestive tract. We are unique primates, having evolved much shorter intestines and thereby losing our ability to digest cellulose. This happened in concert with our transition to predatory pack hunters.
We are the only predatory, carnivorous species of primate. Until the relatively recent invention of the technology of fire, allowing us to cook cellulose, we had to rely on meat for most of our calories. Yes fruits, nuts and seeds are full of digestible starch and sugar, but until we invented the technology of agriculture (which is even more recent; the earliest evidence of cultivated figs only goes back to about 9500BCE) it was not possible to obtain enough fruits, nuts and seeds by gathering them from wild plants, in almost all places on earth.
We also needed meat for protein. Yes, nuts and seeds contain protein, but that protein's amino acid ratio is not suited for human nutrition. It can be balanced perfectly by the protein in grains (the seeds from various species of grasses), but A) it has to be cooked, which once again requires the technology of fire that primitive hominids did not have, and B) there wasn't enough grain to support a population until we invented the next technology of agriculture.
Our ancestors had to get by for a couple of million years by eating meat because nothing else provided a nutritionally complete diet. Fortunately our ancestors were very successful hunters so that worked out pretty well for them.
I understand that since we unlocked the mysteries of nutritional science, we are no longer slaves to a carnivorous diet. As a pet lover as well as a "save the whales" kind of guy, I'm well aware of the cognitive dissonance I manifest every time I put a big steak on my plate. My wife stopped me from getting a potbellied pig because pork is the only meat she really likes and she figured she wouldn't be able to stand eating it any more. I'm sure the day will come when, as Captain Kirk put it on Star Trek, "Humans no longer enslave animals for food."
Nonetheless we have to be careful when we tamper with our own psychology. We've only been omnivores for a little more than ten thousand years, and that's not long enough for evolution to have brought about the changes in our synapses to match the changes in our diets. There's a caveman inside each of us who yearns for meat and we'd better feed him something that at least pretends to satisfy that craving. Tofu simply does not do it!
We've spent the last eleven thousand years crafting a world that is alien to our inner caveman, and we've seen how he reacts when his instincts are not fulfilled. Homo sapiens is a pack-social species like gorillas and chimpanzees; we are instinctively programmed to rely on and care for a couple of dozen pack-mates whom we've known since birth and to consider other tribes with suspicion, as competitors for scarce resources. We've steadily increased the size of our "packs," first to include villagers we weren't as well acquainted with, then to include anonymous strangers in cities, and now to include people on the other side of the planet who are nothing but abstractions to us. Occasionally one of us (or an entire army of us) finds it impossible to accept this affront to his instinctive drives, and he starts behaving like a caveman.
If the next thing we're going to do to that caveman is deny him meat, we'd better be prepared for the consequences.
Back to the distinction between "carnivores" and "carnivorans." The class of carnivorans includes the families of canines, felines, ursines, mustelids, pinnipeds, hyenas, skunks and a few others. Those families contain species that have digressed from the obligate carnivorous diet. Bears, raccoons and most canids are omnivores, and the panda is 100% herbivorous. They are carnivorans but not carnivores.
Likewise, species of other classes of mammals have developed the ability or even the need to eat meat. Pigs are artiodactyls and rats are rodents, but they both happily scavenge meat, or, in some species, hunt it. Cetaceans are also artiodactyls (descendants of primitive hippopotamuses) and they are 100% carnivorous.
Humans fall into that category. We are primates but we evolved into a species that requires meat for complete nutrition. Only our technology allows us to get it in other ways, but our psychology is a little slow to adapt.
Sorry dude, but that is false. We have never been able to digest raw cellulose. Our ability to digest raw fruits, nuts and seeds is handy but there wasn't enough food of that type to support us during the millions of years before we learned to cultivate our own crops.
My father worked in the stockyards in Chicago during the Great Depression. They had a rule that you would be fired if you were caught taking meat home to your friends and family, but you could eat all you wanted on the premises. He developed a taste for raw beef which he continued to eat (ground but without the "steak tartare" accouterments) throughout his 85-year life. He passed it on to me, although I don't eat it any more because I don't trust the sanitation standards of factory farms. But I love sushi and the Japanese have one of the world's longest life expectancies.
I'm not really campaigning militantly for more meat in the American diet. If people are happy eating dairy products with vegetarian cuisine, go for it. And if they really want to go to the trouble of balancing a vegan diet with no animal protein at all, then that's up to them. Although I scratch my head over that. Everyone in this civilization has a job to do and if the job of cows is to produce milk and the job of chickens is to lay eggs, and--if we can at least provide them with much better "office space" than we now do--I don't see the problem in letting them to their jobs. It's not like we're asking them to do something unnatural.
If you want to campaign for a meatless diet on the basis of morality, then I have no problem with that and I don't even have a problem with the certainty that one day all humans will eat that way.
What I have a problem with is disingenuous argument. Several of your statements are blatantly false. The human body most surely IS completely adapted to a carnivorous diet. Humans most surely DID live that way for millions of years because we had absolutely no choice about it until we invented technologies that could provide nutrients unavailable in nature. Meat most surely IS NOT bad for us because it's what our bodies are built for. Heart disease most surely IS NOT primarily caused by the routine eating of meat in quantities that satisfy our nutritional needs but do not make us overweight. We most surely DO NOT have the same digestive tract nor the same nutritional needs and capabilities as the other apes. A carnivore most surely IS NOT the same thing as a carnivoran--orcas eat penguins and pandas eat bamboo.
But what I am campaigning for is recognition of the problems we have always faced when we change our world faster than we can change ourselves. There is a Stone Age hunter inside each of us and if we're going to stop feeding him meat we had better have a plan for dealing with his dissatisfaction. Every year thousands of people lose their connection with civilization and kill other humans because they're pack-social creatures who (at least momentarily) cannot stand living in a herd-social environment. In fact at depressingly frequent intervals throughout history, MILLIONS of people do that; it's called war.
Let's not be blind-sided by what a few maladjusted carnivores might do after years of being fed a vegetarian diet. Just because you feel no ill effects from your meatless diet (other than your misplaced militancy) doesn't mean everyone will be so lucky.
I'm pretty sure I've got a gut full of worms. Mercury tends to flush out of your system relatively fast.
I would also like to add that, while personal anecdotes may seem informative, they're hardly a good source for medical information.
I WISH I had worms. That sounds like a great way to eat more and weigh less.
Like, duh. That's what I said. Did you even read the post you quoted?
Oh, God. I love when someone gets mouthy with me. We have CANINES. We have SHORTER GUTS than herbivores like horses and goats and bunnies. We lack the enzymes to take a lot of cals from a lot of plant products.
Yes, we can live very healthy vegan lifestyles which are better for the planet, but don't front like it's what nature intended. DON'T FRONT. It makes intelligent veggies look as braindead as you.
Mod note: There’s no need for this to get heated. It can be a really interesting discussion without the baiting.
You sure you ain't confused on that? Humans are not carnivorans or carnivores. They don't fit into *either* of those categories. Sorry friend.
This would be like me saying humans aren't carnivores because they can't digest the bones of the animals they eat. Get real.
I don't believe that's true. I believe that's an affectation on your part.
That is because humans did not always congregate in large groups where they numbered in the thousands. Before cities emerged anywhere, humans resided in small nomadic groups. Large quantities of the food like you are describing weren't needed.
Who in the hell are you talking about?
Anyway, none of that stuff comes remotely close to being true. It's all just speculation on your part. One thing's for sure. For a people who supposedly survived on meat for millions of years, our ancestors were pretty freaking unimposing and little-bodied. Can we say, undernourished?
Humans break their teeth off eating muffins. We don't have claws, we don't have powerful jaws, and we're physically much, MUCH weaker than our FRUIT-EATING cousins, the bonobo monkeys. So basically, you don't have a chance in hell of justifying this claim that humans were predatorial. It simply makes no sense.
FACT: Humans are the only animal in the world who cooks it meat. All other *true* carnivores eat it raw. Humans, on the other hand, are more prone to parasites than those animals by eating raw meat.
FACT: Humans' also have flat molars that are designed to grind food. *True* carnivores on the other hand, have all sharp teeth for tearing food.
FACT: Human saliva contains an enzyme called amylase, which helps to break down starch. Starch is produced by PLANTS. *True* carnivores do not have amylase in their saliva.
The logical conclusion? Humans were *never* carnivores, and their anatomy disproves any and all claims that they are. Humans are omnivores to a T, with a life expectancy that is maximized by eating *both* plants and meat, rather than a herbivorous or carnivorous diet. Nature makes the rules here, not you or me Fraggle.
Methinks you are describing yourself here. You quoted my post which said we are omnivores, then italicized a statement, as though you had just arrived at some new conclusion, that *drumroll* humans were omnivores. Way to go, little genius.
In the meantime, I'm not a "veggie."
Mod note: Derogatory references to people's mothers deleted.
There’s no need for this to get heated. It can be a really interesting discussion without the baiting.
Saven, you're long on rhetoric but short on evidence. Your reasoning is fallacious. The largest land animals and the strongest land animals are herbivores. Some of the most ferocious predators on earth--cougars, wolves, hyenas, jaguars, weasels--are smaller than humans.
As for strength, the strength we evolved was intellectual rather than muscular. We grew uniquely large forebrains that gave us thinking power orders of magnitude better than any other animal, and we used it to invent superior hunting strategies based on complex organization, planning, communication, tools, and ultimately collaboration with another species, the dog, creating the world's first multi-species community with complementary abilities that could out-hunt anybody. You don't need to be the largest or most muscular primate when you're the smartest, you travel in packs, and you've got language, slings, spears, bows and arrows--and hunting dogs. Homo sapiens outcompeted, marginalized, hunted to extinction, or simply ate the competition, including the cave bear, the sabretooth, the sharks, the thylacines, and several species of whales, the largest carnivores that ever existed. We are now the apex predator on both land and sea.
As for your hypotheses about human anatomy, you're simply wrong. As others have verified on this thread, we do NOT have a digestive system for a vegetarian diet. That requires a longer colon and we haven't got it. Your remarks about being able to live off the protein in nuts and berries when our population was smaller ignore the fact that WE CANNOT LIVE off the protein in nuts and berries. They lack adequate quantities of several key amino acids. They must be mixed with grains and grains must be cooked before we can digest them.
Hominids had to survive with a carnivore's metabolism for about a million years before we invented cooking. Until we did that, we had to eat meat. We evolved hunting skill in concert with a carnivore's metabolism. In other words, we evolved into predators.
It's really nice that we can finally get along without meat. That will make a nice peaceful future world for us (and for our dogs, who helped us get here.) But don't rewrite our history. To ignore our nature is to doom that future. It will take more than a few verses of "Kumbaya" and some positively wretched-tasting "textured soy protein" to turn the other 99% of us into contented vegetarians who won't be sneaking into the parks at night to catch the ducks, like the early Vietnamese refugees. It's going to take some of the clever planning that we're famous for.
Humans aren't as strong as chimps because we're better at fine motor control. Chimps can't manipulate small objects as well as we can since their muscle composition and attachment makes them more suited for gripping and tearing up plants than chipping flint into weapons. Likewise, our lack of large teeth is due to a 300,000 to 1,000,000 years of cooking food and strong selection towards vocalization. Our oral construction is more delicate than a chimps because vocal communication is more important than chewing on shrubs.
* * * * NOTE FROM A MODERATOR * * * *
Come on dudes, let's keep the discourse civil. Personal insults are a violation of the forum rules and there's absolutely no need for them here. If you can't make your point by respecting the scientific method and the rules of logic, then you have to stop and wonder why.
You don't have to convince your opponent that he's wrong. You only have to convince everyone else. And you won't do that by talking trash.
Describing yourself again? If anything, I'm succinct and to the point. Meanwhile, you're writing half-pages of a load of crappola that I don't even bother to fully read, due to it being so void of evidence. It's just a lotta manufactured manure that you're tying conclusions to, when there's no actual scientific evidence that humans *ever* ate meat only.
Actually we ate both. And you're WAY off track in saying that I'm suggesting "humans lived off a vegetarian diet" or whatever the hell it is that you're pretending I said. The argument that *I* made is that humans lived off both meat and fruits/vegetables since, well, forever. And that's entirely true. That alone locks down any and all discussion that humans were carnivores. End of story. Carnivores don't do what I just described. It also reaffirms MY position that humans are and were omnivorous. And that's the unvarnished truth. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
LOL... <insults deleted> You're clearly *very* self-conscious about your mental capacities, which is why you feel a need to prove yourself now.
Nowhere did I say that humans were not fit to consume meat. If I said that, then why in my original post in this thread, did I say humans that were omnivorous -- a claim that flies directly in the face of humans being unfit to consume meat? THE REASON: because I didn't say it. I guess that's what happens when someone comes along and states a viewpoint that small, bitter people find personally offensive: they look for reasons to hate you. When they can't find any legit reasons, they'll simply make them up.
Do yourself a favor, and avoid thinking in extremes, my volatile little friend. It does wonders for your intellectual development.
Mod note: No more insults, please.
A carnivore (IPA: /ˈkɑrnɪvɔər/), meaning 'meat eater' (Latin carne meaning 'flesh' and vorare meaning 'to devour'), is any animal with a diet consisting mainly of meat, whether it comes from animals living (predation) or dead (scavenging).
And...? You have my attention..?
You guys are getting cranky over semantics.
No. Saven said that since humans did not evolve from carnivores that humans could not be carnivores. This is a typical example of the invalid reasoning upon which his arguments rest.
It is true that the modern carnivorans evolved only from carnivorans; there are two suborders: caniforms and feliforms. Nonetheless within the order of carnivorans there is one species, the panda, which has readapted to a herbivorous diet, and others have become omnivores like bears or scavengers like raccoons.
What is not true is that modern carnivores evolved only from carnivores, which was one of the premises upon which Saven attempted to base his argument. As I noted, the 100% meat-eating cetaceans evolved from hippopotamus-like creatures; grazers. This is not mere "semantics"; it shoots such a big hole through that particular line of reasoning that it completely demolishes it.
The digestive tract is soft tissue and soft tissue is able to evolve somewhat more rapidly than hard tissue like bones. In fact with intensive selective breeding by humans and considerable self-selection, in a mere 15,000 years the dog has been able to adapt to a measurably more omnivorous diet than the wolf, by virtue of having a slightly smaller brain--an organ that requires a lot of protein.
Which brings up a point I have made on this forum before but so far overlooked on this thread: our high-protein carnivorous diet helped us evolve larger brains than the other apes. Eating meat is one of the key characteristics that makes us human.
But Saven admits that he doesn't bother reading my meticulous refutations of his fallacious arguments because it's just too much trouble. Sorry dude, science is like that. Get used to it.
He must be Baron Max's protege.
Fraggle- I can see by your long and longer responses that you are fighting an uphill battle against logic. Why? Because 100 words undoes a thousand of yours.
The only benefit a high-meat diet provided to early man was a quickly developed human brain- one that can reason. The fact that us tree dwellers/fruit eaters at some point came down and introduced flesh to their mostly vegetarian diet was a shock to the system- like drinking a can of Red Bull every half hour... it made us the enterprising humans we are today- meat is packed with protein and fats... a pound of meat is like 10 pounds of veggies.
Irregardless of all of this, I am a living example that a human being can thrive on a totally meatless diet. This is why I said I can kick your ass and run a marathon- not eating meat has INCREASED my metabolism- when was the last time you put away a 16 oz. New York strip steak than ran around the block a dozen times? No- you went home and went to bed- with your body attempting to assimilate all these proteins and fats and keep you alive.
You are clearly, utterly wrong by touting the meat diet- it is a losing battle. It only leads to coronary disease and death. GO VEG!
That ain't true Rom, and I can say the same about all of you. Check it out:
QUOTE FROM THE SAME WEBSITE:
"Omnivores (from Latin: omne all, everything; vorare to devour) are species that eat both plants and animals as their primary food source. They are opportunistic, general feeders not specifically adapted to eat and digest either meat or plant material exclusively. Pigs are one well-known example of an omnivore. Crows are another example of an omnivore that many people see every day. Humans are also omnivores."
Not exclusively adapted to eat plants or meat only? Come to think of it, that sounds EXACTLY like what humans are and always have been. The idea that they're "carnivores" is an idea that came outta fraggle's own head... and it's clearly not the case. If he wishes to say that "humans might have become carnivores EVENTUALLY" then he may have had a real argument. However, such a transformation never took place, and any process toward that state has been arrested.
In other words, humans ain't and weren't carnivores. Deal, guys.
Separate names with a comma.