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Eat the Old: Could Mass Cannibalism Solve a Future Food Shortage?
By Adam Hadhazy | October 28, 2011 11:41am ET
The global human population is set to hit 7 billion on Oct. 31, and by century's end it will stand at 10 billion, according to the United Nations. That's a lot more mouths to feed.
There's a very good chance that generating food from traditional farming and livestock practices will not be able to keep pace with this boom. What if a worldwide food shortage were to become so terribly dire that people resorted to eating . . . people?
In such a dreadful event, the most-sensible first choice for meals might seem to be the elderly. After all, a fifth of those 10 billion humans will be at least 65 years old, and less physically able than the rest to contribute to what remains of society. [5 Ways the World Will Change Radically in the Next Century]
Several brutal crimes allegedly involving face biting, dismemberment and cannibalism have recently offered a chilling reminder that real life can be as bizarre as fiction — even a horror film.
Hylen said cannibalism often begins as a fantasy, which the person plays out in his or her head. But when that person gets a taste for real, “the pleasure center of the brain becomes activated and large amounts of dopamine are released –- similar to what happens when someone ingests a drug like coc aine.”
Once that happens, Hylen said, the burgeoning cannibal’s brain becomes conditioned to seek out the activity in order to obtain the feeling again, which leads to a cycle of cannibalism that can only be stopped through outside intervention.
Stanford professor Paul Ehrlich predicts population increases will lead to food crisis
Says we will have to address if it is 'okay to eat the bodies of your dead because we’re all so hungry'
By Mark Prigg
Published: 19:04 EDT, 22 May 2014 | Updated: 03:51 EDT, 23 May 2014
A controversial Stanford professor has claimed overpopulation could lead to humanity having to eat the bodies of the dead.
Paul Ehrlich, best known for his prediction of human 'oblivion' 46 years ago, says that current population trends are on a course that could leave cannibalism as one of the only options.
Ehrlich claimed that scarcity of resources will get so bad that humans will need to drastically change our eating habits and agriculture
In Many Species, a Family Dinner Means Something Else
By BILL SCHUTTJAN. 30, 2017
The Kids Menu
As a new generation of researchers builds upon the work of scientists like Dr. Polis and Laurel Fox, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, cannibalism in nature has begun to seem almost normal.
It Isn’t Just for Animals
Are there instances where, as in the animal kingdom, human cannibalism makes sense? And if so, could this behavior resurface in the future? Cannibalism may be gruesome, and repugnant to our current sensibilities, but it has been widely practiced for a variety of reasons.
As scientists have come to understand, factors like overpopulation and a lack of alternative forms of nutrition lead to cannibalism among animals, and it is clear that even modern humans have been driven to the behavior on many occasions. What, then, of the future?
Populations are growing. Resources are dwindling. Deserts are spreading. And the societal rules that bind us together are proving more fragile than we ever imagined they could be. Maybe it is wise to remember that human cannibalism, so unthinkable now, was not uncommon not so long ago.