- Education and Science
A Taste for Cannibalism Perhaps?
Journey towards Cannibalism
What makes those who eat their own species flesh perform such an awful deed. I can't imagine chewing on a body part of a fellow human or preparing a dish in which "Human Rump Roast" is the main dish of the evening. I wonder if this type of behavior started because it was a matter of survival that humans ate human flesh. At some point it changed into becoming some kind of ritualistic practice amongst different tribes found in various parts of the world. Cannibalism is not only found amongst the human species but many other species share this same awful habit. They may do it for different reasons but the bottom line is they are eating the flesh of their own kind!
Sexual Cannibalism is a form of cannibalism in which a species eats it's mate. One of the most well known species that practice this is the "Black Widow" spider. The female who is much larger than the male makes it a habit to eat her mate after the mating ritual is completed. Other species such as the "Praying Mantes" and "Scorpion" are two other species well known for their practice of "Sexual Cannibalism". These are not loving or caring types of relationships but rather cold ruthless and calculating. They are more like the typical no strings attached type of relationships. The only strings that may be attached are those that may be holding the dead bodies of their mates.
Cannibalism Due to Size
This type of cannibalism involves different sizes of the same species eating- the small, frail, injured members of their own species. This is basically a cleanup job that involves getting rid of the weak within the species. These victims of cannibalism will be used to feed the rest of their species keeping them healthy and strong. As Charles Darwin explained with his theory of "Survival of the Fittest"; this method is a way of insuring the survival of the species. The stronger the species the better chance they will survive. To stay strong the species must rid itself of the weak links one way or another; one of which is through the act of cannibalism.
When we think of Chimpanzees we tend to think of these fun loving apes jumping around in the jungle eating bananas and making us laugh with their antics. But there is a darker side to their behavior that usually involves adult males eating infants. This gruesome behavior is unnerving especially when these cannibals are our closest living relatives. I guess the saying "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" is true in this case especially when talking about family trees!
Parents Eating their Young
This I think is the worst kind of cannibalism which is known as "Filial Cannibalism". I think it is so awful that the ones that are supposed to protect their young from danger- are the ones killing them. This type of cannibalism happens with a variety of species it is very common amongst fish especially. Many male fish will eat their frys or eggs; some say it is to give the ones that survive a better chance of surviving. Other species may eat their own eggs or the young that have died or were still born etc.
Males Killing and or Eating Young
This is where a fully grown male of a species kills younger non-adult young of the species. A perfect example of this is the African Lion who is well known for killing the cubs of another male. He largely kills them so that the female (s) will go into estrous; this then helps to ensure his bloodline within the pride. They may kill them if there is a lack of food to eat but usually it is to rid the pride of the previous male's bloodline. No matter what the reason the bottom line is that the young and the frail in many species are easy targets and are the most likely to become victims of cannibalistic acts within their species.
There is many different types of cannibalism none of which paint a pretty picture. I must say though if I was in a situation in which in order for me to survive I would have to eat the flesh of my own species I really don't know what I would do. I pray to God I never have to find out what I would do in a real life or death situation such as being a survivor of a plane crash. My heart goes out to those who had to make that awful decision of eating human flesh in order to survive. I can't imagine the anguish and hell these people must have gone threw. I guess none of us truly know for sure how we would react until the said circumstance is actually upon us.This is something I can truly say that I will not feel that I have missed some kind of special experience. I am happy to pass on the human - "Rump Roast"!