Friday, October 2, 2009

Have you ever eaten a bug?

Everyone, or at least the majority of people who had some contact with nature/wild vegetation, has already seen or had the experience with the warble fly. It consists of the larva (first phase of life circle) of the fly Dermatobia hominis penetrating a healthy skin to develop. During the period that the larva develops inside de skin, the area with the parasite puffs up and presents an orifice from which the insect breaths. In humans it is easier to identify due to the local pain.

Recently Billy had the parasite in his leg. When I arrived at his enclosure I noticed the larva and asked him to take a look. In the beginning he was suspicious of me, but after I explained to him what it was, showing him, Billy leant on the fence to make it easy for me to handle it. As long as I pressed, Billy just watched the removal of the insect. But when the insect really started to come out, he behaved not only as a patient, but also a real assistant of the process.
The removal of this insect is hard and demands strength and persistence. Both of us did not give up and Billy was getting more excited and anxious while the larva was getting out, pulling it carefully so it would not be crushed. After a while we were able to remove it and Billy got it with his hand and quickly ate it.
To most of people this can seem to be an unpleasant and disgusting attitude, but the act of eating insects (entomofagy) appeared with the first hominids and currently it happens in more than 100 countries in the world. Insects are very rich in proteins. At the same chicken meat and beef have 23% and 20% of protein, in this order, a fly's larva has about 55% of protein. Apart from that, the insects have significant quantities of lipids and are rich in Na, K, Zn, P, Mn, Mg, Fe, Cu and Ca.In our contemporary world, Asian people and Indians are the ones with the highest consumption of this kind of food. They keep an ancestor habit. It is something like our "DNA memory". And who never ate something disgusting? But do not be afraid, because many things that we eat have are directly connected to our subconscious wishes. A classical example of this is geophagy (ingest of soil), which can be a sign of the lack of some minerals common in soils.

Based on everything presented, I am sure that your vision related to this attitude, which can seem bizarre, must have changed. I do not want to say that from now on you are going to start to hunt flies and collecting ants for lunch. What I want to show is the fact that observing in chimpanzees some singular ancestor's roots makes us see that some of their habits are also our habits, presented in our daily routine. It is not possible to deny it. We, Homo sapiens, considered to be more evolved, how did we inherit this habit? Whose blame is this? Our ancestors, who, no matter what, are presented in our DNA...

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