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First let us have a look at the relationship between the dietary habits and anatomical development of the various animals. Animals may be divided into several groups according to their dietary habits. They are herbivore, carnivore, graminivore, omnivore and frugivore. The herbivores are plant eater. They thrives best on a diet of coarse plants, tubers and various kinds of grasses. The cow, horse, sheep, deer and most other grazing animals are in this class. The carnivores are those which live chiefly or entirely upon animal flesh and include such animals as the fox, wolf, lion and tiger. The graminivores are the animals which live largely upon cereals, grains and the seeds of all types of grasses. These are restricted chiefly to the bird kingdom. However, even so, few birds are strictly graminivorous, for in addition to the grains and seeds they eat an abundance of insects and worms. The omnivorous animals use a mixed diet consisting of both animal flesh and many kinds of plants. The frugivorous animals live on fruits, nuts and the tender shoots, roots, buds and leaves of plants. Among the frugivorous animals are the higher members of the primate family (as well as some of the lower primates) including the chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutans and gibbon. On rare occasions the gibbon and possibly the other higher primates may eat a few bird eggs or insects, but their normal diet remains fundamentally one of fruits, plants and nuts. The mountain gorilla is a strict vegetarian.
Now we have to decide which of these groups human is a member of. At first it might be thought that humans are by nature an omnivorous animal, for they divide their diet pretty evenly between plant and animal foods. But a close investigation reveals that humans anatomical structures do not resemble that of the omnivorous animals at all. Nor does it resemble those of the carnivores, herbivores or graminivorous. From every standpoint humans bear the closest relation to the frugivorous animals. Our digestive tract and skeletal structures are similar to those of the higher primates and distinctly different from those of the other animals.
Naturalists have always claimed that the normal dietary habits of animals are invariably related to their patterns of dentition. Paleontologists classified the dietary habits of prehistoric fossil animals according to the number and type of teeth these animals possess. Each of the five distinct types of animal life possesses dental patterns characteristic of it alone. It is noteworthy in this connection that human's teeth closely resemble those of the anthropoid apes and are entirely different in both number and type from those of other animals. The gorilla, chimpanzee, and orangutan each have 32 teeth. These include 12 molars, 8 bucuspids, 8 incisors and 4 cuspids, exactly the same in order and number as those of humans. It is true that humans possesses small canine teeth (cuspids) but this does not make us carnivorous animals as many would have us believe. Even the anthropoid apes have canine teeth, larger in fact, than those of humans. The possession of canine teeth obviously does not call for flesh eating or we would not find these animals with frugivorous dietary habits. Unless we are to disregard the findings of paleontology and anthropogenesis we must regard humans dental pattern as evidence that s/he is a frugivorous animal.
The small intestine of all the higher primates is much longer, in proportion to body length, than that of the carnivore. The intestinal tract of humans is about 12 times the length of the body. The different lengths serve specific purposes. The shorter the tract, the more rapidly the food is disposed of and the less time it has to putrefy. The longer the tract, the longer the food remains in the body and the longer time it has to digest thoroughly.
When flesh is eaten by carnivorous animals it passes through the intestinal tract before putrefaction has become well advanced. Thus, few toxic end-products are produced. Perhaps one of the reasons why many birds of prey are able to live such extraordinarily long lives is that their intestinal tracts are among the shortest possessed by any animals. Their feces contains almost no bacterial flora, indicating very little putrefaction.
The frugivorous animals, including humans, possess intestinal tracts which fail to permit the digestion of animal flesh in the absence of considerable putrefaction. The rich bacterial flora and offensive odor of the feces of meat eaters is evidence of the great amount of putrefaction which has taken place. The intestinal tract of humans is adapted to fruits, vegetables and perhaps nuts. These foods remain in the body long enough to permit thorough digestion with very little putrefaction.
Also worthy of note are the great differences in the stomachs of the various animal groups. The stomach of each group appears designed or developed according to the nature of the food which is eaten. The stomach of man is divided into cardiac and pyloric portions, and its inner surface is covered with wrinkles called corrugations or rugae. The stomach of the carnivore and omnivore is a simple, round-like sack, and possesses no corrugations. The stomach of herbivorous animals, on the other hand, is very complicated, lying transversely across the abdomen, and divided into three to seven compartments (usually three or four). Each particular type of stomach is adapted to given types of food. The simple stomach of the carnivore is well adapted to the digestion of animal flesh. The stomach of humans can easily handle fruits, tender plants and fresh nuts, but it does not meet with complete success in handling all other types of food. The stomach of the herbivore is specifically adapted to the digestion of coarser grasses and herbs. Each type of stomach has its digestive limitations, and we must not go beyond these limitations if we desire and expect the best health.
Naturalists, anatomists and zoologists have uniformly recognized these points, insofar as they affect the place of humans in nature and our normal dietetic character. A look at the chart of compared anatomy will reveal some of the conclusions that can be taken from such an analysis.
There is no need here to go into complete detail regarding every aspect of comparative anatomy. Sufficient facts have been given to indicate that humans must be classified with the frugivorous animals. In every particular the formation of the teeth, the shape of the stomach, the length of the small intestine, the location of the milk glands, the size of the salivary glands, the size of the liver, the type of placenta, the shape of the extremities, etc., etc., humans represent the arch-type of frugivore. In no particular do we resemble to either the carnivore, herbivore or omnivore.
As a rule, medical writers and vegetarians alike fall into the same error in determining the dietetic character of the human species. Almost invariably they divide the animal kingdom into three two or three distinct groups carnivore, herbivore and omnivore. The medical writers go to great length to show how the anatomical structure of humans differs from that of the herbivore. Vegetarians, on the other hand, make every effort to point to the differences between man and the carnivorous and omnivorous animals. Both groups are naturally successful. It is a simple matter to show how humans differ from the herbivore, and it is equally simple to show how we differ from the carnivore and the omnivore. What medical writers fail to point out is the difference between humans and the flesh-eating animals, and what vegetarians fail to point out is the difference between man and the grass-eating animals. Both groups completely fail to recognize that a frugivorous class of animals even exists. As a result, their analysis must be incomplete and their conclusions must be inaccurate.
The facts regarding the comparative anatomy show the fallacy of attempting to apply to man the results of flesh eating among white rats (as is continually being done by university researchers). They also indicate the fallacy of attempting to prove that, because a certain group of carnivorous, omnivorous or herbivorous animals fare well on a certain diet, a similar diet would be well suited to humans. Each animal group has its own dietary needs and limitations, determined largely by the animals anatomical structure.
The anatomical structure and other physiological aspects of humans indicate pretty clearly what type of animal we are: frugivores.
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