Cannibalism Is Totally Natural and Not at All as Weird as You Think

According to a new book written by a zoologist, at least.

It’s got to be hard to be a cannibal. (Hear us out).

Imagine your favorite food. Now what if it was suddenly illegal? And not just illegal, but demonized. And movies and TV shows portrayed you as an insane person for eating it (albeit one with a medical degree). And if anyone ever found out it was your favorite food you’d be completely ostracized from society, put in jail, and recorded in history books as a monster.

Doesn’t that sound rough?

Fortunately it doesn’t matter, because eating human flesh is not the same as eating an avocado—doing it is messed up and we’re never going to think otherwise. However, there is at least one non-cannibal person who might disagree.

The Washington Post reports that in his latest book, zoologist Bill Schutt examines the idea that maybe we’ve been thinking about cannibalism all wrong, and that perhaps it’s a much more natural practice than we’ve been conditioned to believe.

In that book, Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, Schutt examines the (surprisingly many) occurrences of cannibalism in other species of animals, as well as different instances of the practice throughout human history. He discusses the “lifeboat strategy” wherein a nesting bird lays a smaller egg/baby for the stronger to eat if food is scarce. He looks at ritual cannibalism as a funeral practice. He even takes part in eating a human placenta, prepared by a chef and braised with organic vegetables. (As the author jokes, “Thank God for that, you know, I wouldn’t want to eat human placenta with nonorganic vegetables.”)

It’s a lot to go through just to understand why someone might want to take a bite out of Debra in accounting.

We can’t say whether Schutt is successful in his arguments against demonizing cannibalism, but we can say we won’t be joining him for dinner anytime soon.

Organic vegetables or not.

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