The book, Cannibalism by Bill Schutt busts several myths about the practice of eating one’s own kind and unfolds the real picture.
Scientists have been writing about cannibalism as a weird, biologically meaningless phenomenon for centuries. Its existence in nature was rejected, and a few spent any time researching, as a desperation reaction to drought or other life-threatening circumstances.
A taboo topic in our society, the act was mostly reflected by horror films or tabloids that rendered flesh-eater crimes more dramatic. However, it is much more fascinating (and normal) than the misconceptions which we embrace as the reality that cannibalism, which plays its role in evolution as well as in human history, is truthful.
MISCONCEPTIONS BEHIND CANNIBALISM
Zoologist Bill Schutt documents the unfolding common misconceptions and discusses in the most fascinating account still published on this complex subject our new understanding of the role of cannibalism in biology, anthropology and history. The book, Cannibalism carries readers into Sierra Nevados from the Chiricahua Mountain, Arizona, across lagoons overflowing with tadpole delicacies to help scholars shed new light on what happened to the Donner Party – the most notorious episode in American history in cannibalism. He also encounters an authority on human placenta preparation and use (and, yes, it goes well with Chianti).
With state-of-the-art science in mind, Schutt addresses questions such as why a few amphibians use skin from their mom; why certain insects bite their spouses’ heads off by sex; why Europeans routinely ate human parts as medicinal remedies before the end of the twentieth century? And how cannibalism could be associated with Neandertals disappearance. He guides us into the future and discusses why we will see more cases of cannibalism in even more animals, including ours, as the consequences of climate change cause malnutrition, illnesses and overcrowding.
Schutt (Dark Banque), an LIU-Post Professor of Biology, finds in this detailed report of the taboo tradition that cannibalism is more commonly assumed than average, and provides perspectives into why various animals use cannibalism with plenty of experimental data to confirm their results.
REASONS BEHIND CANNIBALISM
Schutt in his book, Cannibalism deals with the well known cannibalistic behaviors found in tadpoles, primates, tiger sharks, and polar bears; but his explanation of lesser-known cannibalistic events in humans which were active throughout the history of the siege of Leningrad in 1941 and the medical cannibalism performed in a number of European and Chinese officials are the main intrigue. As reasons for cannibalism, Schutt calls starvation, overcrowding, and even global warming.
Cannibalism is often practiced, depending on tradition, as a taught behavior, like filial piety, a means of lavish complacency, as a funeral rite, and also as a stabilizer of mood. Schutt’s well-researched and suspicious thesis is a must-read for anybody who is interested in the subject – with lots of evidence of cannibalism in humans in the past and in the present.
A chapter-wise summary of the book Cannibalism, and facts about the practice of cannibalism in the west, and the east can help you know better about the practice.