reply to post by Anonymous ATS
Actually, you're wrong.
Accumulation of modern post-1960s research shows apes are not actually vegetarians. The main problem with the comparative anatomy argument, then--at
least when used to support vegetarianism--is that scientists now know that apes are not vegetarians after all, as was once thought. The comparative
anatomy argument actually argues for at least modest amounts of animal flesh in the diet, based on the now much-more-complete observations of
chimpanzees, our closest animal relatives with whom we share somewhere around 98 to 98.6% of our genes. (We'll also look briefly at the diets of
other apes, but the chimpanzee data will be focused on here since it has the most relevance for humans.)
Diet of chimpanzees. Though the chimp research is rarely oriented to the specific types of percentage numerical figures we Hygienists would want to
see classified, from what I have seen, it would probably be fair to estimate that most populations of chimpanzees are getting somewhere in the
neighborhood of 5%* of their diet on average in most cases (as a baseline) to perhaps 8-10%* as a high depending on the season, as animal food--which
in their case includes bird's eggs and insects in addition to flesh--particularly insects, which are much more heavily consumed than is flesh.
* Meat consumption by chimps. There is considerable variation across different chimp populations in flesh consumption, which also fluctuates up
and down considerably within populations on a seasonal basis as well. (And behavior sometimes differs as well: Chimps in the Tai population, in 26 of
28 mammal kills, were observed to break open the bones with their teeth and use tools to extract the marrow for consumption, reminiscent of early
Homo habilis.) One population has been observed to eat as much as 4 oz. of flesh per day during the peak hunting season, dwindling to virtually
nothing much of the rest of the time, but researchers note that when it is available, it is highly anticipated and prized. It's hard to say
exactly, but a reasonable estimate might be that on average flesh may account for about 1-3% of the chimp diet.
* The more significant role of social-insect/termite/ant consumption. Now of course, meat consumption among chimps is what gets the headlines
these days, but the bulk of chimpanzees' animal food consumption actually comes in the form of social insects (termites, ants, and bees),
which constitute a much higher payoff for the labor invested to obtain them than catching the colobus monkeys that are often the featured flesh
item for chimps. However, insect consumption has often been virtually ignored since it constitutes a severe blind spot for the Western world due
to our cultural aversions and biases about it. And by no means is insect consumption an isolated occurrence among just some chimp populations. With
very few exceptions, termites and/or ants are eaten about half the days out of a year on average, and during peak seasons are an almost daily item,
constituting a significant staple food in the diet (in terms of regularity), the remains of which show up in a minimum of approximately 25% of all
chimpanzee stool samples.
* Breakdown of chimpanzee food intake by dietary category. Again, while chimp researchers normally don't classify food intake by the types of
volume or caloric percentages that we Hygienists would prefer to see it broken down for comparison purposes (the rigors of observing these creatures
in the wild make it difficult), what they do record is illustrative. A chart for the chimps of Lope in Gabon classified by numbers of different
species of food eaten (caveat: this does not equate to volume), shows the fruit species eaten comprising approx. 68% of the total range of species
eaten in their diets, leaves 11%, seeds 7%, flowers 2%, bark 1%, pith