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Humans are Omnivores
There are various misbelieves about the diet of a human, some say they are herbivores, consume plant-based diet and some say they are complete carnivores, eating animal’s flesh. Thus, to prove this various scientist have undergone research and have found that humans are actually omnivores, feeding on both. This fact was proved by Dr. McArdle, a primatologist and anatomist.
Taxonomy and Diet
The myth that humans are complete vegetarians have been arisen due to lack of certainty about the diet and the taxonomy. Carnivores can be specific to a particular diet or can eat various flesh, thus belonging to carnivores.
The diet cannot be just classified into herbivores or carnivores but insectivores are those which eat insects, frugivores which consume fruits, gramnivores eat seed and nuts, whereas folivores consume leaves.
He concluded by saying that every organism has a particular function and those functions are also found in other species.
Omnivores are said to be those organism, that are both herbivores as well as carnivores, which is a type of adaptation accomplished by them. Thus, to thrive in the environment they have acquired this type of adaptation and feed on whatever is available.
This adaptation is seen only in animals and humans have the freedom to choose what they want to consume. However, in animals a few characteristic have been seen such as modified teeth which can also be an adaptation.
Great Apes and Their Diet
Species differ from each other in their food characteristic, is said by Dr. McArdle. Animals that consume fruits are the apes, however there are other types of apes which also eat fruit but differ in the habits and the habitat, example gibbons and siamangs.
There are other animals that are on plant-based diet but does not eat much fruit are the gorilla and orangutans which have not been viewed eating non-vegetarian food. A comparison was done to identify the link between the primate’s diet and their size. It was found out that the tiniest species fees on insect, called the insectivores and the one which is the hugest is an herbivore.
Thus, it determines the amount of food consumed according to the size and the food available on the basis of the location. Organism that quite resemble the humans in their habits, physiology, characteristic and the genetics are the chimpanzee, which hunt the prey to feed themselves.
Evidence that Humans are Omnivores
a) Archeological Records: From the records it has been very evident that since the ancient times humans have been killing other animals to obtain food and they are potential carnivores. Thus, humans are omnivores.
b) Anatomical Features: There are features that humans have similar to omnivores on the basis of their body. Example are mice, pigs, rodents and others. Although omnivores do not have vats where food is broken down by microflora, but is present in deer and cattle and there are sacs found in animals such as monkey, rhinos and horses, and sharp teeth, but humans do not possess such features. However, humans have other features.
c) Jaws and Teeth: One of the most important feature of omnivores that are humans are the teeth which have canines which are quite small due to cranium enlargement and small size of the jaw. However, in animals the canines are huge as they help to prove their dominance as well as to eat their food. In humans the canine and premolar and molar are enough to break the food.
d) Intestines: The most tedious digestive system is of herbivores due to the presence of various compartments, then the carnivores and omnivores. As the plant-based diet is quite rigid, thus breaking it is more complex in nature. Thus, they possess more organs for digestion to occur. The easier to broken one are the carnivores, whereas the omnivores are in between the herbivore and carnivore, not complex as well as not easy. Those plant substances that cannot be broken by humans are thrown out of the body.
Thus, humans are omnivores and have the freedom to choose the type of diet, however in animal it is an adaptation made by them for survival.
Humans are Omnivores Citations
- Vegetarian diets : nutritional considerations for athletes. Sports Med . 2006;36(4):293-305.
- Nutritional considerations for vegetarian athletes. Nutrition . Jul-Aug 2004;20(7-8):696-703.
- Vegetarian and Omnivorous Nutrition – Comparing Physical Performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab . 2016 Jun;26(3):212-20.