Evolutionary biology: Dirty eating for healthy living

  title={Evolutionary biology: Dirty eating for healthy living},
  author={Jared M. Diamond},
  • J. Diamond
  • Published 1999
  • Geography, Medicine, Biology
  • Nature
Geophagy is the regular and intentional consumption of soil, and proposals as to its purpose have been many and varied. A spectacular example of geophagy is the highly selective consumption of earth — clay in particular — by flocks of certain parrots in the Amazonian rainforest. The reason, as reported in a new study, is that in the birds' stomachs the clay detoxifies foods that the parrots would otherwise be unable to consume. 
Geophagy and the Involuntary Ingestion of Soil
In addition to geophagy, many animals (including humans) also accidentally ingest soil, and this involuntary ingestion of soil is considered first (see also Chap. 15, this volume). Expand
More than Eating Dirt: A Review of Avian Geophagy‡
It is suggested that additional tests of these hypotheses are buffering gastric pH and acquiring antidiarrheal agents and additional investigation of these proposed benefits of geophagy in birds are suggested. Expand
Microbiological and health related perspectives of geophagia: An overview
The interplay of factors involved in geophagia, though varied, intricate and researched may not have been fully elucidated and further concerted efforts aimed at multidisciplinary research are warranted to address gaps in the corpus of knowledge on the important subject. Expand
Food availability and breeding season as predictors of geophagy in Amazonian parrots
It is found that the peak of geophagy occurred during species’ breeding seasons, which strongly supports the supplemental nutrients hypothesis, and joins a growing body of biochemical, physiological, behavioural, ecological and biogeographical evidence suggesting that a need for sodium is driving soil consumption in this classic model system of avian gephagy. Expand
Geophagy of tropical fruit eating bats: mineral licks as a link between ecology and conservation
Zusammenfassung - 5 - Summary - 7 - Chapter I General Introduction - 11 - Outline of the study - 19 - Chapter II Frugivorous bats drink nutrient and clay-enriched water in the Amazon rainforest:Expand
Soil Borne Human Diseases
An overview of the various soil borne diseases which can affect humans is provided, including a discussion of the literature where available for each disease, and an analysis of the evidence for why each disease may be considered to be soil borne. Expand
Faeces of Rhinolophus euryale (Chiroptera) from the winter season contain inorganic matter
The high concentration of inorganic material and virtual lack of prey observed in the non-consumptive faeces indicate that drinking as well as direct sediment consumption occur inside the cave environment during the hibernation period. Expand
Licks in this study provide ungulates with supplemental sources of sodium that are particularly beneficial to offset increasing demands during lactation and with carbonates to help stabilize rumen pH after forage changes in spring. Expand
Nutrition or Detoxification: Why Bats Visit Mineral Licks of the Amazonian Rainforest
It is concluded that pregnant and lactating fruit-eating bats do not visit mineral licks principally for minerals, but instead to buffer the effects of secondary plant compounds that they ingest in large quantities during periods of high energy demand. Expand
Human health aspects related to the ingestion of geophagic clayey soils from the Free State and Limpopo provinces, South Africa
Studies were undertaken in the Limpopo and Free State Provinces of South Africa to understand the beliefs, perceptions and health implications associated with geophagia. Questionnaires administeredExpand


With Bitter Herbs They Shall Eat It: Chemical Ecology and the Origins of Human Diet and Medicine
People have always been attracted to foods rich in calories, fat and protein, yet the biblical admonition that meat be eaten "with bitter herbs" suggests that unpalatable plants play an importantExpand