Thursday, April 03, 2014

Quicksilver and Squirrel the Cat Etc. Part 3 PLUS Deer Eating Deer,-Why Not Anthrophagy (cannibalism)?

 This is Part 3, so if you haven't seen Part 2 scroll down and then come back up.

It is then that I realize that this is the laundry room, which Silver is convinced is his nest site, he's standing on the edge of his "cavity", and is about to launch himself at the cat.  (I'll crop the photo with just Silver so you have a better view.)
Look at his eyes and slightly open beak.  This is a parrot who is no longer playing and not even rational.
                 SILVER!!!!!  STOP!!!!
WHAT?  Okay guys, that's it! I put Silver back on his play area and change the position of  the ladder so the trunk is closed except for a few inches for air flow.

What was that old adage, about curiosity and the cat?

Never fear, not even Squirrel who is a Houdini of cats can get back into this one.  And if he did he could get back out and if somehow the lid came down, this is a cat with a very good set of lungs.  He is constantly getting shut in cupboards, accidentally shut in a room upstairs or at the least ending up on the wrong side of doors.  He meows very loudly until someone comes to let him out.

Next up,  there have been a good many responses concerning the post of April 1st, (No, it wasn't an April Fools joke.), in which I wrote about the deer eating deer study.

Karen Anne Kolling of the Gonzo Deck wrote:

It would be interesting to know why the taboo against eating one's own species developed, while there are many societies in which it is okay to eat other species. 

Indeed, Karen, that question crossed my mind as well.  Just why is anthrophagy forbidden in most human societies.  

My first thought was that it has lately been proved that cooperative  efforts in Homo sapiens is an evolutionary advantage and part of the reason we are still around.  For instance, if you eat your brother in law, he won't be around to help you do chores that need a couple of strong guys to finish. Or help you fend off Homo antecessor, who did eat Homo sapiens. Besides your sister wouldn't like it and she'd possibly do you in some dark night.

A case in point...

- The world's first known cannibals ate each other to satisfy their nutritional needs.
- The cannibals belonged to the species Homo antecessor, related to both Neanderthals and modern humans.
- Homo antecessor appears to have preyed on competing groups, treating victims like any other meat source.
The world's first known human cannibals ate each other to satisfy their nutritional needs, concludes a new study of the remains of cannibal feasts consumed about one million years ago.
The humans-as-food determination negates other possibilities, such as cannibalism for ritual's sake, or cannibalism due to starvation. In this oldest known case of humans eating humans, other food was available to the diners, but human flesh was just part of their meat mix.
"These practices were conducted by Homo antecessor, who inhabited Europe one million years ago," according to the research team, led by Eudald Carbonell.
For more...

And guess what, Homo antecessor is extinct.  Not much of an evolutionary advantage in the practice, it turns out.  

Though in science we want things to be able to be nailed done to only one "reason", I think that in the evolutionary game often multiple factors may enter into the process of which species survive.  

My second thought as to possible evolutionary disadvantages of eating each other, and this may have contributed to the demise of  sections of  Homo sapiens who practiced cannibalism or other Homos who did as well, is the contraction of disease.

I couldn't find it anywhere this evening, but I do remember reading many years ago about a tribe of headhunters who ate the brains of the warriors they killed in battle in order to ingest their courage and or other personal attributes.  

Which is just a super way to be infected by prions, which cause various kinds of encephalitis.   And of course if a human eats another human who is infected with anything and the meal isn't well cooked or not cooked at all there is a good chance of passing it to the diners.


Not a great evolutionary advantage to say the least.  Therefore even if some groups of Homo sapiens took up the practice, due to the pitfalls, they would be less likely to survive than those of us who have perhaps a native or acquired "aversion" to it.

Speaking of aversions,  if  your personal aversion also extends to not eating other primates you are far better off.

Besides the possibility of contracting Green Monkey Disease and there is still a battle raging in some parts of the world over whether or not AIDS is or isn't a mutated form of monkey autoimmune disease.

And on that note...

Donegal Browne

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