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Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History
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Archive - Additional Reads > Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History - May 2018

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Savanes | 2055 comments Mod
Voted by members as our additional read for the Horror nominee.

Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt

Cannibalism A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt

For centuries scientists have written off cannibalism as a bizarre phenomenon with little biological significance. Its presence in nature was dismissed as a desperate response to starvation or other life-threatening circumstances, and few spent time studying it. A taboo subject in our culture, the behavior was portrayed mostly through horror movies or tabloids sensationalizing the crimes of real-life flesh-eaters. But the true nature of cannibalism--the role it plays in evolution as well as human history--is even more intriguing (and more normal) than the misconceptions we've come to accept as fact.

In Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, zoologist Bill Schutt sets the record straight, debunking common myths and investigating our new understanding of cannibalism's role in biology, anthropology, and history in the most fascinating account yet written on this complex topic. Schutt takes readers from Arizona's Chiricahua Mountains, where he wades through ponds full of tadpoles devouring their siblings, to the Sierra Nevadas, where he joins researchers who are shedding new light on what happened to the Donner Party--the most infamous episode of cannibalism in American history. He even meets with an expert on the preparation and consumption of human placenta (and, yes, it goes well with Chianti).


Summer (paradisecity) | 29 comments Just started this one and it’s pretty interesting so far. Looking foward to the discussion!


Vicki Willis | 891 comments I own this one so I am hoping to get to it this month.


Vicki Willis | 891 comments I am about 15%
So I am finding this one very scientific, yet accessible.
My favorite fact so far is (view spoiler)
I am not sure what I was expecting, but it is much more about invertabrates and insects that I thought it would be.
Interesting, but we will see how much I remember at the end.


Reija | 101 comments Yeah, I think it is the problem with these kind of books - there are so many articles from very different perspective, some are interesting, some not. I have same feelings with I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life partly very informative and then you are guessing why they are included some other issue at all.


Vicki Willis | 891 comments Still working on this one.
Some stuff more interesting than others.
Loved the Donner party history.
The placenta chapter was squirmy, but couldn't stop reading.
Hope to finish soon.


Summer (paradisecity) | 29 comments Overall, I really liked this book. I think it started slowly but once we started getting into human cannibalism, it held my interest more easily. The author seems to have done a solid job of fact checking and presenting different arguments, and I definitely know a lot more about this subject than I did before.


Vicki Willis | 891 comments Done.
I gave it 3 stars.
Glad I read it. I don't read a lot of non fiction, but am happy when I find one that is good for me.


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