I'm writing about bears. Why? I was having a discussion, oh alright then, argument with a vegan lady. There was a thread on a message board about the slaughter of pigs and she argued that humans are not designed/evolved/w.h.y. to eat meat based on the following list:
Meat-eaters: have claws
Herbivores: no claws
Humans: no claws
Meat-eaters: have no skin pores and perspire through the tongue
Herbivores: perspire through skin pores
Humans: perspire through skin pores
Meat-eaters: have sharp front teeth for tearing, with no flat molar teeth for grinding
Herbivores: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding
Humans: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding
Meat-eaters: have intestinal tract that is only 3 times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass through quickly
Herbivores: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.
Humans: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.
Meat-eaters: have strong hydrochloric acid in stomach to digest meat
Herbivores: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater
Humans: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater
Meat-eaters: salivary glands in mouth not needed to pre-digest grains and fruits.
Herbivores: well-developed salivary glands which are necessary to pre-digest grains and fruits
Humans: well-developed salivary glands, which are necessary to pre-digest, grains and fruits
Meat-eaters: have acid saliva with no enzyme ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Herbivores: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Humans: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Based on a chart by A.D. Andrews, Fit Food for Men, (Chicago: American Hygiene Society, 1970)
The fact that humans can't digest cellulose (the stuff that plant cell walls are made of) seemed to have been conveniently left off the above list, so I pointed out that if she wanted to play the list game, perhaps she should read http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/carn_herb_comparison.html. Someone then posted a link to Humans are Omnivores. Humans are omnivores. End of.
Then I had a thought. Bears have a digestive system similar to ours. Here's a list of some bears and their characteristics:
Polar Bears: Body composition: Variable (they have a layer of blubber for thermal insulation and they gain body fat when food is plentiful to sustain them through times when food is unavailable). Activity: Very active (pregnant females hibernate). Fertility: On average 2 cubs every year. Diet: 99% meat (there may be some vegetable matter in the guts of the animals that they eat).
American Black Bears: Body composition: Leaner than Polar Bears as ambient temperatures are higher. Activity: Very active (even active when hibernating). Fertility: 2-3 cubs every 2 years. Diet: 10-15% meat, insects & plants.
Brown Bears: Body composition: Leaner than Polar Bears as ambient temperatures are higher. Activity: Very active (even active when hibernating). Fertility: On average 2 cubs every year. Diet: 90% plants, insects, fish and small mammals.
Giant Pandas: Body composition: Fat. Activity: Sedentary. Fertility: 1 cub every 2 years (if the mother has two cubs, she lets one of them die, as she can only raise one cub at a time). Diet: 99% bamboo shoots, but will eat meat, fish and eggs when made available by humans.
Do you see a pattern, here?