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Go to: Let Them Eat Dirt

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Comment 21 by Alan4discussion :

A well established custom:-

Capybara, rabbits, hamsters and other related species do not have a complex ruminant digestive system. Instead they are hindgut fermenters that digest cellulose via microbial fermentation. In addition, they extract further nutrition from grass by giving their food a second pass through the gut. Soft fecal pellets of partially digested food are excreted and generally consumed immediately. Consuming these cecotropes is important for adequate nutritional intake of vitamin B12. They also produce normal droppings, which are not eaten. -

Primatologists have also observed chimps and bonobo eating their own faeces...

I know from having been a vegan for about 18 months that B12 is an important vitamin that humans can't get from a plant only diet (I'm back to being an omnivore nowadays) - vegans have to take supplements. Although B12 is produced by colon bacteria in abundance it is too far down the gut to be absorbed directly - perhaps other ape species solve the problem through coprophagy. I've seen it suggested for humans in vegan discussion forums - not surprisingly it wasn't a popular option... ( I opted for the Boots brand B12 supplement, in case you're wondering!)

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 20:11:05 UTC | #930607

Go to: Let Them Eat Dirt

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Comment 19 by SuedeStonn :

deprive yourself of it in increments and you run the risk of getting hit with something that you haven't worked up to fight it.

Ingest the excrements in increments? I can feel a song coming on...

Mon, 26 Mar 2012 05:53:57 UTC | #930511

Go to: Let Them Eat Dirt

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Comment 15 by Nyarlat :

Complete bullshit!

Yes indeed; new born calves benefit from ingesting bacteria present in their mother's rumen (presumably from faecal contamination of the udder). Apparently the microflora in the calf rumen develops rapidly after birth and is necessary for proper rumen function.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 18:14:11 UTC | #930392

Go to: Let Them Eat Dirt

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I've been concerned for years that children nowadays are kept in sterile "risk-free" environments. I grew up playing unsupervised outdoors, walking/running/cycling miles everyday, getting dirty, falling in stagnant ponds, climbing (and sometimes falling out of) trees, eating unripe wild fruit with unwashed hands, eating half-cooked food over camp fires (which often burned my fingers, singed my hair, and/or scorched my clothes). Play for kids nowadays is spending days on end in their bedroom playing dubious video games. There should be a campaign to liberate children!

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 12:28:54 UTC | #930150

Go to: Study reveals why our ancestors switched to bipedal power

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Comment 2 by drumdaddy :

Competitive food gathering as a selection pressure is entirely plausible. I wonder if this repurposing of the hands enabled chimps to play the cymbals so well.

It did indeed - I'm banging away right now while typing with my toes.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 16:56:47 UTC | #929330

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