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Author Topic: Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?  (Read 13674 times)

Offline QuantumClue

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #25 on: 28/12/2010 04:44:25 »
Here's a disturbing video of someone suffering kuru

 

Offline QuantumClue

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #26 on: 28/12/2010 04:47:37 »
CJD

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Offline QuantumClue

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #27 on: 28/12/2010 04:49:04 »
I posted some links... how come they haven't shown up? Do they need to be looked at first?
 

Offline yor_on

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #28 on: 28/12/2010 05:32:27 »
Don 't think so, you should just need to copy & paste them?
 

Offline QuantumClue

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #29 on: 28/12/2010 17:17:26 »

Disturbing.
 

SteveFish

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #30 on: 28/12/2010 17:24:22 »
Cannibalism for food is rare, except in some notorious emergency situations. There is some anthropology research that suggests that it might have been more widespread in the past. The New Guineans ate some of the brain in a funeral rite, and the brain is the primary source of prions. So, if there is any path that has been "chosen" by nature, it is that a tenderloin, or a liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti are just fine, but don't eat the brains. Cannibalism is not at all unusual in other animals, even primates.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #31 on: 28/12/2010 17:45:49 »
Interestingly however, the form of disease does take hold in the animal kindgom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovine_spongiform_encephalopathy
 

Offline QuantumClue

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #32 on: 28/12/2010 18:07:26 »
Also there was a case where people from kentucky developed the disease from eating squirrel brains.
 

SteveFish

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #33 on: 28/12/2010 20:13:13 »
Yes, brains are potentially dangerous, although the cross species infection rate is pretty low. We humans made it much worse for the cows, especially in the UK where being a renderer used to be a cottage business. Carcasses of what in the US are called downer cows or sheep (alive, but so sick that it can't stand up) and other dead animals, including road kill, were rendered for fat by cooking at high heat. The remaining crumbles of protein were also sold to manufacturers of, mostly, cow chow. The thing about prions is that just normal cooking doesn't affect them, they have to be heated to above 460F (240C) to break down, so the soluble prions stuck to and were concentrated in the protein crumbles.

In the US, downer cows were not rendered, but were made into pet food, but I found out a while back that until recently, veterinarians here got rid of euthanized animals by selling them to renderers. So, your fluffy and spot who you had to have "put down" may have been rendered and fed to some other critter.

The thing about prions is that they are a normal protein found in most mammals that very occasionally takes on an abnormal conformation that, in turn, causes more of the normal ones to change to the bad form. There are some genetic mutations that make this more likely to happen.

However, consider this-- a prion is a self assembling very tough and heat resistant protein. If this idea is developed it might lead to a new type of plastic like material not dependent on fossil fuels.
« Last Edit: 28/12/2010 20:17:03 by SteveFish »
 

Offline QuantumClue

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #34 on: 28/12/2010 20:35:49 »
 

SteveFish

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #35 on: 28/12/2010 21:20:46 »
The disease is very unfortunate for the few people who get it, but the Guardian article predicted only 13 cases a year over the next 20 years.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #36 on: 28/12/2010 22:54:34 »
Ok...
So if you are a survivor of a plane crash in the Andes mountains...

Avoid eating the brains of all the British travelers  [xx(]
 

Offline QuantumClue

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #37 on: 28/12/2010 23:00:06 »
How bizarre... when steve mentioned in the most extreme cases, the Crash of the Andes did come to mind. However, I do not believe they consumed the brains. They ate parts of the leg if memory serves.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #38 on: 28/12/2010 23:01:09 »
I did know someone who claimed to have eaten sheeps brains on more than one occasion, on a seperate note.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #39 on: 28/12/2010 23:15:46 »
How bizarre... when steve mentioned in the most extreme cases, the Crash of the Andes did come to mind. However, I do not believe they consumed the brains. They ate parts of the leg if memory serves.
Did you watch the movie "Alive", or read the book?

It has been about 25 years since I read it, but I thought in the book they did discuss eating the brains...  I think they described it as a desert, and somewhat like cheese.

They also ate their toothpaste...  which was like candy.
 

Offline QuantumClue

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #40 on: 28/12/2010 23:43:54 »
I've read the book. Was that not them trying to justify eating brains? I don't believe they went as far as that surely? Reports and even interviews of the survivors speak of resorting to eating the flesh of the dead bodies...
 

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Is it evolutionarily advantageous to be a cannibal?
« Reply #40 on: 28/12/2010 23:43:54 »

 

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