Eat Me: A Natural and Unnatural History of Cannibalism

Ever since Welsh actor Sir Anthony Hopkins portrayed Dr. Hannibal Lecter in movies who ate some of his enemies, fascination has returned for a history of cannibalism.

 

You may remember about 10-15 years ago when Mad-Cow Disease was announced to the world of cattle in England infected with cow feed that included powered bones from animals to give calcium to the feed. Cattle began to waste-away  and died without explanation.  Scientists searched for a similar disease that affects people. Two German physicians, Hans Creutzfeltz and Alfons Jakob, reported similar findings in the 1800s, and the disease that affects animals affects humans. The current combined name of the disease is called Creutzfeltz-Jakob Disease(CJD). This disease is classified as a neurodegenerative spongiform encephalopathy disease that has no cure. People who are stricken die within a year.

 

I read a book by a neurologist, Dr. Oliver Sacks, who reported of a tribe of pigmies in New Guinea who eat the bodies  of their enemies as a victory. Parts of the human body were shared by male tribesmen while women received lesser spoils of the brains. Soon, the disease called Kuru was matched with Mad-Cow Disease as women began to die.

 

A new book  is reported in Nature, an International Weekly Journal of Science." Eat Me:  A Natural and Unnatural History Of Cannibalism." The book is not yet available at bookstores in the US, but a popular newspaper in England, " The Guardian," offers a review of the mentioned book.

 

Go to Google, and type the title into the searchbox, " Eat Me:  A Natural and Unnatural History of Cannibalism."

 

Cannibalism might be a good subject for Thoughts' members to discuss. Some important people say they would give people permission to eat their parts if the person is declared dead.

 

While at Google, search for the "Donner's Party" about travelers who were lost in a snow storm in the 1800s enroute to California but only made it to Nevada. Travelers of the wagon-train were guilty of eating people when all food was gone.

 

Definitions of Mad-Cow Disease is taken from Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 32nd Edition, 2011. Pages 530-531.

 

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