02. The human primate’s natural food

Hello again. We had a look at the definitions of natural and ethical in the last post. I’m on the hunt for which foods can safely be given the go-ahead based on these two definitions.

What foods are humans designed to eat?

Chimpanzee eating natural food
freedigitalphotos.net PhotoKanok

What would humans in the wild eat and thrive on? Remember, for the purpose of this investigation, humans would be in a natural environment with no man-made weapons or cookware. Basically, we are talking about wild human primates.

If you look at human teeth, it’s obvious that they can chew food quite well and don’t have to swallow it almost whole as a dog does.

If you look at their stomachs, you will see that there is only one, unlike horses and cattle, for example, who have two or more for the purpose of fermenting grains and other difficult to digest foods.

If you look at their hands and feet, they have no claws, so can’t catch and hold down any wild animal bigger than a cat, and they can’t run fast enough to do that anyway.

And then, if they were to have caught such an animal, their teeth are not designed to kill the animal. They would only be able to strangle it with their hands, or bash it with a stone, risking getting badly scratched and bitten.

Remember, the human primate has no fur to protect itself from bites.

So, the human is a bit limited when it comes to eating animals.

In nature humans would eat food they can easily gather and easily digest

Humans could gather grains, but, grains need to be fermented before a human can digest them. So grains aren’t the best choice.

But, a human is well adapted to gathering leaves, flowers, stems, roots, berries, fruit, nuts and seeds.

A human can also, obviously, gather fungi and eggs and many types of insects and caterpillars and even shellfish, should he be wandering along a seashore. He may also find an unwary bird, fish or animal to catch, or even one already dead.

So, this is what I see as natural foods for a human primate: foods that a human can easily find, gather or catch, and also easily chew and digest, preferably raw.

This is the definition I will be using in future posts to gauge whether the food we choose is natural for the human primate.

What do the other primates eat?

Gorillas: mainly leaves, but also roots, fruits and termites.
Chimpanzees: fruit, flowers, stems, bark, resin, honey, eggs, birds and small mammals.
Baboons: leaves, fruit, flowers, roots, seeds, gum, sap, shellfish, insects, fish, birds and small mammals.
Orang-utans: fruit, leaves, nuts, roots, seeds, insects, birds and small mammals.
Monkeys: fruit, leaves, flowers, insects, small reptiles.

So, primates are omnivorous, and so are humans, but I do believe that the catching and killing of large animals using tools or weapons other than one’s hands is not natural. And neither is it ethical.

And, natural and ethical are the two conditions that I’m basing this investigation on.

In the next posts we will examine these primate foods to see if they fit our natural and ethical model.

4 thoughts on “02. The human primate’s natural food

  1. Both Chimps and Bonobos hunt & eat meat, unfortunately they both eat other primates too.
    Chimps: http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/chimpanzee-hunting-behavior-and-human-evolution/1
    Bonobos: http://www.livescience.com/9601-bonobos-hunt-primates.html
    Some studies say the Bonobo is just opportunistic, but Chimps hunt, and worse yet, according this article and others I have read, its more of a social thing than necessity and reading this article in particular the objectives of which are not within any ethical bounds.
    In general Chimps are not a good comparison for ethics, the Bonobos whole social pattern being different, I would be curious for further reading.

    1. Hello Jason,

      Thank you for your interest in the post and also for the informative links. I appreciate it. I actually feel that gorillas and orangutangs are the primates that come closest to the ethical standpoint. I would be interested to hear your view on that.

      Have a lovely day 🙂

  2. Hello! Just found your website and LOVE it – such a great idea 🙂

    I just wondered if you know what the bonobo diet consists of as they are supposed to be our closest cousins, and also what % of calories comes from each source.. For example Ape’s generally eat from 75 – 95% of their calories from fresh fruits, and only a very small amount from leaves, insects, etc. I love looking at it in calorie % because it gives us a bit of perspective when we’re making the comparison to our own diets.

    I also wonder what you think about the ethical(ness) of eating flowers? It’s a debate I’ve been having in my head and would love to know your thoughts.

    Anyway love the blog! And thanks for a great read 🙂 xx

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for your lovely comment 🙂

      And thanks also for the info about the bonobo – I didn’t know that. When I get some time I would like to include that. I’m hoping also to build in tables and charts – love them too – as you say, they give up some perspective.

      Interesting that you ask about the ethical side of eating flowers. I have a post on that subject in this blog, and basically I feel that it’s ethical providing enough flowers are left to produce seeds to sustain the plant population. You can see what I think here:
      https://naturalethicalfood.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/flowers-is-it-natural-and-ethical-to-eat-them/
      I’d love to hear your comments on this, too 🙂

      Have a lovely day 🙂 xx

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