Re: Wired

From: BillK (
Date: Tue Nov 23 2004 - 14:47:44 MST

On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 13:37:34 -0600, Damien Broderick wrote:
> It's also interesting, though, to consider how much menu-setting or even
> frank contingent learning must be involved in a lot of disgust responses.
> Babies like to play with shit; dogs like to roll in it. Granted, an
> infant's own feces are less likely to be contaminated with dangerous bugs,
> but still... Is our profound revulsion against smelling, touching or eating
> (ugh) feces something that emerges in a genetically programmed
> developmental arc, or is it instilled culturally? And so on.

Dogs like to roll in it ??!!! - They eat it, Damien!
The technical term is Coprophagy and it is common to dogs, horses,
rats, mice, rabbits, gorillas, etc., etc. Look at any pet forum or vet
helpdesk. Owners are asking about this pet problem all the time. It
doesn't seem to do the animals much harm, but it really freaks out the
human owners! Some people speculate that the animals get trace
minerals or nourishment from the partly digested food.

However when humans eat faeces, they are normally regarded as mentally
ill. And for humans it is a potentially hazardous activity due to the
risks of infection with diseases such as hepatitis. Even consuming
one's own feces involves risk, as the bowel bacteria are not safe to

So for humans it is a life-threatening practice which evolution would
tend to make humans strongly averse to.


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