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Friday, April 29, 2005

Comparative Anatomy -- Nutrition

PETA now has a website on something i've always found interesting, a comparative anatomy between carnivores, omnivores, herbivores and humans.

I'm not saying PETA has the final word on this, but i find it interesting...the physiological similarities seem to indicate that we're mainly veggie.

The site is here, lotsa info to consider, and here's a breakdown for instant gratification:

Jaw Motion
Carnivore Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion
Omnivore Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion
Herbivore No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
Human No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back

Teeth (Incisors)
Carnivore Short and pointed
Omnivore Short and pointed
Herbivore Broad, flattened, and spade-shaped
Human Broad, flattened, and spade-shaped

Teeth (Canines)
Carnivore Long, sharp, and curved
Omnivore Long, sharp, and curved
Herbivore Dull and short or long (for defense) or none
Human Short and blunted

Teeth (Molars)
Carnivore Sharp, jagged, and blade-shaped
Omnivore Sharp blades and/or flattened
Herbivore Flattened with cusps vs. complex surface
Human Flattened with nodular cusps

Chewing
Carnivore None; swallows food whole
Omnivore Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing
Herbivore Extensive chewing necessary
Human Extensive chewing necessary

Saliva
Carnivore No digestive enzymes
Omnivore No digestive enzymes
Herbivore Carbohydrate-digesting enzymes
Human Carbohydrate-digesting enzymes

Stomach Acidity
Carnivore Less than or equal to pH of 1 with food in stomach
Omnivore Less than or equal to pH of 1 with food in stomach
Herbivore pH of 4 to 5 with food in stomach
Human pH of 4 to 5 with food in stomach

Length of Small Intestine
Carnivore 3 to 6 times body length
Omnivore 4 to 6 times body length
Herbivore 10 to more than 12 times body length
Human 10 to 11 times body length

Nails
Carnivore Sharp claws
Omnivore Sharp claws
Herbivore Flattened nails or blunt hooves
Human Flattened nails

Off-hand, the only things i can think of that we have in common with many carni's is forward facing eyes...tho many herbi's are this way as well. Oh, and we kill a lot. =(

3 Comments:

At Monday, May 02, 2005 12:39:00 PM, Blogger mutant said...

Humans don't evolve like other animals. No other animal develops nuclear weapons, guns, or sharp pointy sticks to kill other animals (or humans).

Why would humans need sharp pointy teeth and claws to kill animals and eat meat when they can make pointy sticks, invent guns, harness electricity, and create endlessly complicated methods for preparing food?

This comparison is flawed in so many ways I don't even know where to start.

 
At Monday, May 02, 2005 4:57:00 PM, Blogger Dave Noisy said...

Heya Mutant - thanks for reading my blog!

I don't think your examples really do much to argue the points made in the chart...?

What do nuclear weapons or guns have to do with the shape of our teeth, our digestive enzymes, and the length of our intestines?

Although we are 'smart' enough to take a substance like flesh and basically 'convert' it into something we can use for food, it doesn't mean we're actually physiologically suited to eating it in great amounts.

If you go back 10,000, 20,000 or 50,000 years, we won't have changed a hell-ov-a-lot physiologically, but almost none of the things you described existed, or could be factored into the equation of what we're capable of eating...eh?

 
At Sunday, May 08, 2005 9:30:00 AM, Anonymous dagda said...

seems like mutant's logic is that our intelligence allows us to overcome our "natural evolution". then again, we were given minds capable of complex thought and compassion- as in we are able to think, "hmm... this killing animals is mean... i'm not going to support it".
btw, "pointy stick" = tool in much the same way other animals use tools, be they for predation or no.

 

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Dave Shishkoff
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