December 7, 2022

Have you ever come across some...

Have you ever come across someone who tries to convince you that humans are designed to eat meat because we have pointed “canine” teeth? It’s such an odd argument as taking one look at a lion, wolf, coyote, or even our companions dogs and cats will make it abundantly clear that we have no such structures in our mouths.
What we do have are incisors which are designed to pierce the delicate skin of fruits , not the thick hide of cow or dog. These slightly elongated teeth with a dull point can be used to break through the skin of an apple or to open the shell of a nut but are far too dull and weak to tear flesh from bone. They are perfectly suited to our natural diet of raw fruits and tender leafy greens but as with the rest of our physiology they do not support the consumption of putrefying tissues, fur, bone or skin.
Apparently even in Dr Trall’s day this argument was circulating through the “learned” medical men.
Dr Trall on the anatomy of human teeth
“I can never mention vegetarianism to a flesh eating medical gentleman,“ said Dr. Trall, “who does not introduce the teeth argument as the conclusion of the whole matter, as he asks triumphantly, ‘what were carnivorous teeth put in our jaws for if not to eat flesh?’
I have an answer. They were never put there at all! If they really exist in particular cases, it must be by some accident. They were no part of the original constitution of humanity. And in truth they have no existence at all, except in the imaginations of medical men – in medical books and journals, in the Public newspapers, and the jaws of carnivorous animals…
And now I propose to put this matter of teeth to the proof. Hearing maybe be believing, but seeing is the naked truth. I ask medical men to show their teeth: to open their jaws and let their teeth be seen. Let us have the light to shine in upon this dark and perplexing question. I appeal from their statements to their faces; from their books and schools to their ownanaanatomy.
Is there a person here who believes that, in the anatomy of his teeth, he is only part human? That he is a compromise of human and brute? Let him come forward and open his mouth…. I think, if we make a careful examination, we shall readily discover that he is, ‘toothically considered’, neither perdaceous nor beastial; that he is, dietetically, neither swinish nor tigerocious; neither dogmatical nor categorical; nor is he exactly graminivorous, like the cattle; he is not even sheepish – but simply, wholy, and exclusively human!
True, there are some resemblances between the teeth of men, women and children, and the teeth of cats, dogs, lions, tigers, hogs, horses, cattle, crocodiles, and megalosauruses. But there are differences, too! And the differences are just as significant as are the resemblance is. There is a resemblance between a man’s face and the countenance of a codfish. There’s also a striking difference. There is some resemblance between a man’s features – especially if he does not shave – and the features of a bear. There is some resemblance between a woman’s hair and a peacocks feathers; between a man’s fingernails and a vultures talons; between his eye teeth and a serpents fangs. But, luckily for us, they are not the same, nor precisely alike. Man resembles, more or less, every animal in existence. He differs, too, more or less, from all animals in existence…
There is one class of scholars who are competent and qualified by their studies to give an opinion on the question of the natural dietetic character of man. I mean naturalists, who have studied comparative anatomy with a special reference to this question. And it gives me pleasure to inform medical gentlemen that all of them without a single exception, with the great Cuvier at their head, have testified that the anatomical conformation of the human being, teeth included is strictly frugivorous.
There are indeed specimens of the human family who very closely resemble carnivorous animals, not only in their teeth, but also in their expressions of face and habits of eating – the Kalmuck Tartars, for example. But it is precisely because they have for many generations fed on the grossest animal food and offal that their forms and features became coarse, brutal and revolting. No such example can be found in any nation or tribe whose dietetic habits have long been wholly or even chiefly vegetarian. I repeat, if these persistent advocates of a flesh-diet based on the anatomical argument will but come forward and let us look into the interior of their countenances, we will show them that they are much better than they supposed themselves to be. We will prove that they are higher in the scale of being then they haven’t given themselves credit for. They have been all together too modest in their pretensions. In consequence of a little mistake in the anatomy of their masticators, they have humbled themselves quite unnecessarily. Instead of ranking themselves high above the highest, of the animal kingdom, and close on to the borders of the angel kingdom, where God placed them, they have degraded themselves to the level of scavengers….”
Eat fruit and be well my friends!