If You Ran A Zoo

Congratulations!! The person in charge of the local Zoo has suffered a tragic accident. Something to do with Bald-Eagle-Neutering or Hippo Insemination or something; my point here is that he has insisted, in his will, that you be placed in charge of the entire facility.

"Kinda hot in these rhinos."

“Kinda hot in these rhinos.”

You get to decide all sorts of shit, but among the things you get to decide is what each group of animals will eat.

How are you going to decide which animals get to eat what?

Well, let’s see. It seems reasonable that you would try to figure out what these animals’ ancestral diets were and then try to duplicate those diets as closely as possible.

So you feed the tigers raw antelope and zebra meat, you feed the giraffes a bunch of leaves, you feed the polar bears fish, you feed the snakes rats, and you feed the monkeys bananas. Pretty easy, right?

You don’t feed bird seed to the tigers, you don’t feed shrimp to the buffalo, and—wait, this reminds me of a joke:

A train carrying a touring circus company has a horrific crash. Train comes off the rails, the whole thing. The cars bust open one by one and hundreds of animals and circus employees are thrown from the crash, slowly regaining consciousness and collecting themselves. Two of the clowns are still dressed from the show, and decide that they should run away, this not being the safest place.

Unfortunately, their clown suits are not the best camouflage, and they are soon spotted by two hungry lions. And even worse, as they begin frantically running away from the lions—flopflopflopflopflop—they realize that they wore the wrong shoes that day.

The lions pounce on the clowns and quickly sink their teeth in for the killing bite. They decide they can stop for a quick snack of clown meat.

Looking over the aftermath of the wreck and munching on the clowns, one lion turns to the other lion.

“Does this taste funny to you?”


Okay, so you don’t feed bird seed to the tigers, you don’t feed shrimp to the buffalo, and you don’t feed clown meat to the lions. It’s not that these animals will keel over if they eat these things, like it’s poison. It’s not like these foods are bad for them. You’re missing the point if you’re thinking this way. Here’s a quick back-and-forth from J. Stanton over at gnolls.org and one of the commenters on his site:

A commenter called “kaa” writes:

What I AM saying is that there’s very little dietary advice that is guaranteed to benefit 100% of the human population. Humans are *different*…

…to which J. Stanton replies:

Yes, there is, and no, we’re not.

We’re not different enough for the optimal diet to have changed.  Certain groups differ in their tolerance for suboptimal diets — but I’m not interested in what we can tolerate, I’m interested in what’s best.

Important: “Certain groups differ in their tolerance for suboptimal diets—but I’m not interested in what we can tolerate, I’m interested in what’s best.”

Right on. So we’ve got this zoo, and we’re not interested in whether or not different animals can handle suboptimal diets; we’re interested in what’s best. And it’s surprisingly easy.

The reason it’s so easy is because an animal will thrive to the extent that its environment and diet duplicate that of its ancestral home—the specific environment for which it has evolved over countless thousands of generations. The further you remove it from this ancestral environment, the more damage you do to the animal. So you can tell very easily whether or not the diet is appropriate: is this animal thriving?

But wait! Right at the last minute, you receive a special delivery. It’s a very large crate, Jurassic-Park-Style, and when you open it you are shocked to discover….a group of Human Animals!

"All right. Who brought the orange slices for halftime?"

“All right. Who brought the orange slices for halftime?”

Well gaht damn! Human Animals. Homo Sapiens. The very same species of which we are all a part. What should you do with them? What should the temperature of their enclosure be? What kind of accommodations should you provide? And, most important, what kind of diet will they thrive on?

Because you’re not an idiot, you will perform the same calculations for the Human Animals as you did for all the other animals. You will try to duplicate, as closely as possible, the environment of their ancestral home—the specific environment for which they have evolved over countless thousands of generations.

Bipedal humans appeared no later than 2.6 million years ago (possibly earlier, but no later). So our ancestors were evolving for at least that long. 200,000 years ago, our species, Homo Sapiens, was up and running (literally). It was only 60,000 years ago or fewer that we left the Savannah in the center of Africa.

So the Human Animal was shaped, to the largest extent, by its time spent evolving and adapting to life on the African Savannah. And if you want these Human Animals you’ve acquired to thrive, you bet your sweet ass and half a titty that you should feed them foods in line with this heritage. This is the only way to be sure that they’ll thrive.

And what did Human Animals eat on the Savannah?

Bacon from the Island of Dr. Moreau.

Bacon from the Island of Dr. Moreau.

MEAT. Meat, and the fattier the better. The Human Animal evolved into the most effective predator on the planet. Do you have any idea how much time would have to be spent eating and chewing all the plants necessary to fulfill the energy requirements of the most effective predator on the planet, a constantly-active, fully-functioning Human Animal?? Try eating 4,000 calories-worth (or more) of plants (no nuts, oils, sauces, or any of that shit) every day for years in the middle of Africa. Then look up “fulfill” and “energy requirements” and kiss my ass. The only reason vegetarians—who are generally nice people—even have the option of only eating plants is because their distant ancestors had the common fucking sense to eat the only food that could sustain them: Animals.

While we are omnivorous and plants were certainly eaten when we came across them (think condiments or garnish today), the vast majority of a Human Animal’s energy intake must have been from, literally could not have been from anything other than, fatty meat obtained from the predation of the animals in the area of the hunting party.

If you switch the lions’ food with that of the giraffes, both will become sick and neither will thrive. When you feed bananas to the polar bears and fish to the monkeys, both will become sick and neither will thrive.

Yes, you can feed a Human Animal plants and animals, but when you feed a Human Animal nothing but plants and bird seed, soybeans and rabbit food, that Human will not thrive.

And many Human Animals have a Carbohydrate Allergy, so when you feed a Human Animal a bunch of modern foods like wheat, flour, sugar, industrially-produced food-like things, corn, and grains, the Human will not thrive.

Feeding that sort of shit to a Wild Human Animal would get your ass fired from your zoo job in a hurry; but when millions of people do it and call it a “balanced diet” and part of “the food pyramid,” it’s inexplicably endorsed and encouraged.

When setting your health or fat-loss goals, consider that you are a Human Animal. Just like any other animal, you will thrive best eating the ancient foods to which your species spent thousands and thousands of years adapting and evolving.