Author Topic: Are humans scavengers?  (Read 15347 times)

Etinarg

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Are humans scavengers?
« on: June 28, 2013, 12:49:48 PM »
Scavengers feed on dead animals, which they find in their habitat.

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Scavenging is both a carnivorous and herbivorous feeding behavior in which the scavenger feeds on dead animal and plant material present in its habitat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scavenger

Humans don't search for dead animals, we usually kill them actively. But the meat that we eat is usually dead, most often dead since quite some time. And it's not deep-frozen all the time.

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Dry-aged beef is beef that has been hung or placed on a rack to dry for several weeks. After the animal is slaughtered and cleaned, either the entire or half will be hung.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_aging

In some cultures a slight putrefaction taste seems to be even considered good, but I found no English reference for that, so I can only show a google-translated Wiki page:

http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fde.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FHautgout&act=url

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Nevertheless, a slight haut gout is estimated by some as a condiment and deliberately caused by prolonged storage.

Doesn't this qualify humans to be scavengers? At least it seems to indicitae we have no real problem in eating (long) time dead meat unless it's spoiled by bacteria, fungus or insects and their larvae.

I know we are actually omnivores and do not need to eat meat. But we can eat meat. And we obviously eat meat as well when it's been dead for a while, or sometimes even a long time. IMO this would put us in the category of scavengers also.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 12:52:56 PM by Hajo »

TheCreator

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2013, 01:01:35 PM »
It's better to be a scavenger than to eat grass or other disgusting green stuff.
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Etinarg

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 01:12:56 PM »
Awww, and all the other colorful fruits and roots? White, orange, red, even purple and blue you can find. There is much more than green ;D

But it reminds me of Bucky:

http://www.gocomics.com/getfuzzy/2013/06/27

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Oatmeal is a grain. Grain is grass. Grasse's are natures latrine.

or more bluntly, said a beef-eater to a vegetarian "My food shits on your food."

Having said that I actually like fruits and vegetables, the above quotes are just to provide a smirk or laugh ;) I hope no one takes it too serious. There is enough dead-serious nutrition talk already.

I've still been feeling strange when I discovered how old the meat usually is that we eat, and wondered where to draw the line between carnivorous feeding and scavengers.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 01:22:23 PM by Hajo »

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 03:12:58 PM »
I think humans are too complex to be categorized according to the same standards as other animals.

No other species moralizes on what it does or doesn't eat.  No other species prepares food it doesn't need and then sells it to unrelated members of its species.  No other species has developed a language with which to discuss its culinary preferences.  No other species eats food it detests because it consciously knows that it needs that food's nutritional content.

And so forth.

cyb_rogue

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2013, 09:40:59 PM »
Doesn't this qualify humans to be scavengers?

Humans are omnivores, and thus have the option of scavenging. They prefer to be predators by proxy, though.

Scavengers eat animals that died of random causes (disease, accidents, other predators). Humans usually have their source of meat killed and butchered by another human.

Krice

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 07:11:41 AM »
Roguelike games offer a compelling proof that we are hunter-gatherers.

Etinarg

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 09:29:44 AM »
No other species moralizes on what it does or doesn't eat.

I think we know too little to say such. We can't peek into the animals heads, and communication with them is too limited to say yes or no here.

Roguelike games offer a compelling proof that we are hunter-gatherers.

Well said!

guest509

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2013, 05:47:20 AM »
We are agriculturalists, not scavengers. Even per-agricultural revolution humans were opportunists eating whatever they could whenever.

What irks me is that modern anthropological study was heavily influenced by the hard core of the feminist movement. They saw the romantic notion of the 'great white hunter' view of premodern humans popular when anthro study was just starting as some sort of projection of male machismo. It became a political battlefield, since written history was dominated by the exploits of 'great men' maybe the women could find a place in the pre-historical society, some place of greater glory and significance.

So in the end we get a whole bunch of politically motivated theories of how premodern humans lived, many of which enhance the role of women. Completely political and just frustrating to sit through in college. It did great things for the ego and confidence of the ladies but made everyone just seem like hacks. Bad science to the extreme.

One of those theories is the scavenger theory and various communal living theories.

The problem is that only an idiot would think women don't have a place in history, they are half the population. And the only people that are going to care about pre-historical society are academics, who are going to look at the theory and modern politics devoid of real scientific value.

Plus we actually know exactly how pre-ag people lived as preagriculture societies have survived into modern times.

So if you ever hear somebody acting like they know what they are saying while spouting about the human scavenger or that early man didn't really hunt big game you'll also hear, invariably, how that 'truth' led to the amplification of the role of women in the power structure of prehistorical man. And it was only the advent of agriculture and the ability for a man to create much more food on his own that led to the marginalization of the role of women.

While this is completely true it gets taken well beyond the pale. Men didn't hunt mammoth, even though we have found spear points and spear injuries in several mammoth skeletons. Nope. Humans huddled in fear around the fire eating dead things they found laying about and/or existing as complete vegetarians, men huddled close to their women for mutual protection and thought nothing of the days of politically dominated science to come.

End rant.

Krice

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2013, 08:50:08 AM »
Men didn't hunt mammoth, even though we have found spear points and spear injuries in several mammoth skeletons.

What makes you say that? It's really more obvious that we did hunt everything we possibly could and that in result mammoths were hunted down to extinction.

guest509

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2013, 09:49:12 AM »
No Krice. There was no hunting of mammoth. Humans all held hands in monogamous relations with their wives and sometimes fished and sometimes picked berries while starring into their partner's eyes with complete equality and respect. While, of course, respecting their wive's opinion on where and how to piss and shit and also respecting the life of all feeling creatures with smiling faces.

Yep.

It's been 10-15 years since I was in undergrad, but at that time they were pushing the environmental theory about why the mammoth went extinct. My problem is that could be completely true, but they use the strength of that theory to refute the obvious fact that man hunted mammoth.

It should be noted that mammoth are only really preserved in certain situations, like when they fell into the la brea tar pits. So of course the spear points in those mammoths must be anomalous because those mammoths were immobile. That's not hunting really, that's scavenging. And those huge spear points were not meant for large game, nope, they were for throwing and scaring off the big bad animals. You know, the ones that run and hid from man in every environ and every climate known to man throughout recorded history and have been shown to also happen in areas where folks still hunter/gather. Yep. They are scared because man throws rocks, not because man hunted, kills and eats them.

In undergrad I had to endure the fucking academic disgrace of hearing some student give a goddamn 'report' about how the tar pits mostly contained the skeletons of young male mammoths because "only young men are stupid enough to go out alone and die" to the laughter of the overweight 'trendy' female guest professor and the died hair soon to be barista women in the audience.

I'll never forget that one time I had to leave class to use the restroom (I've never been too healthy), and even though I sat by the door and just slipped out as to not inconvenience anyone by barfing in the goddamn waste paper basket I still was able to hear the bitch professor stop her diatribe and focus on me and how I was a man and how men don't have to try as hard and just look at how I feel I can leave in the middle of class and still expect to pass the class and on and on.

It was terrible. I never once spoke in that class or said anything. This was just one example from the 4 classes I had to take in anthropology while getting my history degree. Every one of them was a nightmare full of horrible bitter women professors. Every one of my history professors was female and everyone of them gave me high marks and recommendations. 15 years later I'm still using their letters of recommendation.

Hope that answers your question Krice. Of course man didn't hunt. That's just false machismo. You must hate women.

Etinarg

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2013, 12:19:49 PM »
Bad science to the extreme.

One of those theories is the scavenger theory and various communal living theories.

I'm sorry. I didn't know there is official "scavenger theory". The thing came to my mind when I got aware of how long meat is kept at time betwen the death of the animal and until we eat it. It was meant as a provocative joke, and I was curious about the reactions. In my mothers tongue it might have worked better since our word for "scavenger" literally means "dead animal eater" and that's how we currently eat meat. The wordgame didn't translate well to English though, but I was bored that day and decided to try anyways.

I didn't mean to promote any political or social movement. I'm sorry if it appeared so.

My personal (and serious) opinion on the topic is that humans are omnivores, and best suited to eating a mix of meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Less of grain, milk and products which came relatively late into our food chain. I'm pretty sure that our ancestors were effective hunters, good spears and spear slings which made a person able to throw a spear 180 yards were made long ago already, but the spear sling was forgotten later and just recently rediscovered. Furthermore I believe that our ancestors were about as intelligent as we are (at least throughout the past hundreds of thousands years), just handicapped by less developed technlogy, but they made best use of that they had available at any time, and most often it's pretty impressive what we discover about them.

Edit: Spear sling was the wrong translation. I meant this and similar constructions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spear-thrower
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 12:25:01 PM by Hajo »

Vanguard

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2013, 06:14:58 PM »
I think we know too little to say such. We can't peek into the animals heads, and communication with them is too limited to say yes or no here.

Regardless of whether non-human animals possess a sense of morality on what they eat, they don't speak about the reasons behind their beliefs or try to persuade others to adopt them.  They don't create cultural reasons for denying themselves what is otherwise perfectly good food.  Humans do.

Krice

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2013, 08:50:42 PM »
Hope that answers your question Krice. Of course man didn't hunt. That's just false machismo. You must hate women.

Yes, and indians didn't hunt buffalos. It was too scary for them. No, they scavenged and gathered berries.

Endorya

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Re: Are humans scavengers?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2013, 12:09:35 PM »
Humans are not scavengers. We used to be hunters but now we are farmers as we do farm pretty much everything nowadays, from plants to animals. Of course that if we take things to an extreme level, we can go scavenging and resort to cannibalism, if survival really demands it.

Just because we store "dead" food for long periods of time doesn't qualify us as scavengers. We do get fresh food from killing living beings and not by searching for corpses.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 06:01:54 PM by Endorya »
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