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Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History
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Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History


Eating one’s own kind is completely natural behavior in thousands of species, including humans. Throughout history we have engaged in cannibalism for reasons of famine, burial rites, and medicinal remedies; it’s been used as a way to terrorize and even a way to show filial piety. With unexpected wit and a wealth of knowledge, American Museum of Natural History biologist Bill Schutt takes us on a tour of the field, dissecting exciting new research and investigating questions such as why so many fish eat their offspring and some amphibians consume their mother’s skin; why sexual cannibalism is an evolutionary advantage for certain spiders; why, until the end of the eighteenth century, British royalty ate human body parts; how cannibalism may be linked to the extinction of Neanderthals; why microbes on sacramental bread may have led Catholics to execute Jews in the Middle Ages.

Today, the subject of humans consuming one another has been relegated to the realm of horror movies, fiction, and the occasional psychopath, but be forewarned: As climate change progresses and humans see more famine, disease, and overcrowding, biological and cultural constraints may well disappear. These are the very factors that lead to outbreaks of cannibalism. As he examines these close encounters of the cannibal kind, Bill Schutt makes the ick-factor fascinating.

Title:Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:332 pages
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    Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History Reviews

  • Carlos
    Apr 27, 2017

    I know this might be the wrong thing to say but I enjoyed this book, for such a hard topic the author did a very good job of keeping the theme of the narrative fun and light . This is a study about ca...

  • Nenia *the flagrant liberal* Campbell
    Jun 23, 2016

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestI blame Bill Nye for fostering in me a fascination with all things science (something I think he'd gladly take the credit for). Romance novels m...

  • Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
    May 01, 2017

    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.I don't read a lot of non-fiction books but for some reason as soon as I saw this book I knew I wanted to read it. I love learning about ...

  • Tudor Vlad
    Apr 21, 2017

    This was fun. I know, a book about cannibalism, how fun could that be? There are times when the book is dry and there were moments when I trudged through pages and pages of information. Still, for the...

  • Nick Pageant
    Feb 21, 2017

    I know I'm not likely to convince anyone to read this but for a few special souls (I'm looking at you, Kelly). Still, this is a fun book. The author has a very light touch, lending humor to the grueso...

  • Lukas (LukeLaneReads)
    Mar 31, 2017

    Absolutely *DEVOURED* this....I'm sorry, sometimes the urge to pun is just too strong. ...

  • Krista
    Mar 03, 2017

    Away for the weekend for my husband's work, we went out for a group dinner last night not long after I finished reading Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, and as one does, I steered the convers...

  • The Behrg
    Jul 15, 2016

    I'm not sure if reading a non-fiction novel about Cannibalism says more about the READER than it does the AUTHOR, but I found this a disturbingly fascinating read. Running the gamut from insects to th...

  • Book Riot Community
    Apr 27, 2017

    I read some excellent books in February, but nothing made me as gleefully happy as this book did. Lest you think I am an aspiring cannibal, it’s important to know that this is not a gruesome, sensat...

  • Ellen Gail
    May 12, 2016

    Life lesson: most of your coworkers won't want to discuss the cannibalism habits of tadpoles or the progression of prion diseases. They will look at you strangely.Well well well. This was a fun little...