Out of the Forest

March 7, 2007, 11:00 pm
Filed under: vegetarianism

I’ve always assumed that humans are natural omnivores, designed to eat both meat and vegetation. This fascinating article from Dr. Milton R. Mills, however, makes the case that, anatomically-speaking, humans are natural herbivores, or plant-eaters. Humans are behaviorally omnivores, due mostly to culture, custom and training. He bases his case on an anatomical analysis of herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores. Says the doctor:

Mammals are anatomically and physiologically adapted to procure and consume particular kinds of diets. (It is common practice when examining fossils of extinct mammals to examine anatomical features to deduce the animal’s probable diet.) Therefore, we can look at mammalian carnivores, herbivores (plant-eaters) and omnivores to see which anatomical and physiological features are associated with each kind of diet. Then we can look at human anatomy and physiology to see in which group we belong.

The result of this analysis? In every relevant aspect, from jaw motion to stomach capacity to intestine length, humans possess the anatomical characteristics of herbivores.


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What an interesting point (and article). It makes sense to me. It also explains the cat chart I’ve seen on the wall at the vet – their large intestine looks like a tube/chute!

Anyway, I wonder if it also might explain the high(?) incidence of colon cancer in humans…

Comment by Momo

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