• scardine 6 days ago

    An honest title should be "Can cannibalism promote resistance to cannibalism-induced diseases?" - which most people would guess since evolution will promote survival of the disease-resistant lineages.

    The current click-bait title implies cannibalism could improve resistance to disease in general.

  • owens99 5 days ago

    Yes, or "Can disease lead to disease resistance?"

  • whatshisface 6 days ago

    The title is a bit of a misphrasing, cannibalism didn't give anybody resistance, it just killed everyone that didn't have it.

  • barkingcat 6 days ago

    Of course that's the way to give the general surviving population resistance.

  • mar77i 6 days ago

    Urm, not to be nitpicking here, but I simply don't get the logic in this. Cannibalism itself isn't being resisted to by committing more cannibalism, because those who engage in it aren't those being eaten.

  • staticautomatic 6 days ago

    Then the surviving population would be resistant. That's how evolution works.

  • whatshisface 6 days ago

    If Bill Gates killed every person in New York that didn't have a bike, would it be accurate to say that he gave every New Yorker a bike?

  • staticautomatic 5 days ago

    No, but it would be accurate to say that he was exerting selective pressure on people to have bikes.

  • nwienert 6 days ago

    Yea, if Bill Gates was evolution.

    More seriously: the analogy is broken. Here’s it fixed: If Bill killed everyone without a bike and then the bikers naturally gave birth to kids who came with bikes from then on.

  • reading-at-work 5 days ago

    The title implies cannibalism could give general disease resistance to an individual, but the article is about a population developing resistance to a cannibalism-induced disease due to individuals without the resistance dying off. That's the disconnect the parent comment was referring to.

  • Theodores 6 days ago

    I wonder if mad cow disease is the same?

    In the UK we burned the cows that had it and stopped feeding cows to cows. I wonder if somewhere someone is reading this article and thinking 'great, let's selectively breed cows that can eat cows'.

    This would be great for reducing waste. These breeds could also be made exempt from any animal welfare legislation and sold to customers that just want a burger and have no care for much else.

    Anything the meat eaters buy in fast food restaurants could be bio-engineered this way. The ones who have quaint ideas about 'ethical farming' and 'organic meat' would have the old breeds, sold at a premium.

    But would there be an elevated risk of CJD in this Brave New World?

  • h2odragon 6 days ago

    elevated CJD risk? when you built these things you wanted them big, for efficiency, and so the dug up the aurochs genes. Now we're boned. Giant feral carnivorous cows roaming the landscape.

    Add some bison genes and we can have thundering herds of them flattening cities, hoovering up the inhabitants on their way through.

  • LifeLiverTransp 6 days ago

    Eh, cows already eat parts of cows. Cow mothers eat the placenta aftr birth. They also eat small animals when having a iron deficiency.

    So the actual news would be if cows could survive deformed protein.

  • strainer 5 days ago

    Cows don't "already eat parts of cows" except in that most tenuous sense you made out of self reabsorbtion of placenta, which is common to mammals.

    Do I "eat parts of people" if I chew on my nails? In the same tenuous sense I do "eat parts of people", but really we both know - its just a stretched caveat to the rule that we dont really eat people, and cows dont really eat cows.

    And what kind of "small animals" do cows hunt ? Slugs, beetles perhaps... never mind.

  • Mikeb85 5 days ago

    Cows will eat chickens, mice, baby birds; basically what they can get. Same goes for deer. Pretty much any animal will opportunistically eat any food that's more calorically dense than their typical diet.

  • strainer 5 days ago

    That's nonsense. Herbivores will not "eat any food thats more calorically..." they eat what they have specialised to eat. Some even just eat one species of plant. Where do you find cows that hunt chickens and mice or chickens and mice that willingly sacrifice themselves to cows?

    And this is all a fools errand away from the idea of cannibalistic cows!

  • yomly 5 days ago

    Other people I told this to had a similar reaction. Believe it or not, cows can on the rare occasion acquire a taste for meat.


  • strainer 5 days ago

    I get they can - on rare occasion. I'm indignant about the stretch of language, presenting "can" and "sometimes" as "will" and "do", and the way this was tacked onto placenta eating to help say they "already eat parts of cows". To me this is all plain argument through exaggeration. Herbivores don't need to eat meats and do so rarely, it has hardly been noticed. Sure, some slugs and insects may be an expected nutritional boost and help the digestive system cope with more, on rare occasion. But feeding cows cows does result in prion disease similar to other mammals, like humans suffer from the vanishingly rare practice.

  • YUMad 4 days ago

    "That's nonsense" is not an argument.


  • strainer 19 hours ago

    "That's not an argument" - is not an argument - its a summary.

    My argument did follow my summary. Your link to elsewhere is not an argument here :P

  • foobar_ 6 days ago

    Far more efficient than burying people and wasting all the land.

  • knicholes 6 days ago

    Maybe burning the deceased is a better solution to your land wasting concern. I'd be wary of eating tertiary consumers, if for no other reason than prions. For example, there are risks in eating dolphins because of mercury concentrations that build up. Don't eat tertiary consumers.

  • sosborn 6 days ago

    > wasting all the land

    The waste exists only because we deem those locations as sacred. Otherwise, burying is the most efficient use of resources.

  • foobar_ 6 days ago

    How? I don't think human bodies are mineral rich.

  • sosborn 5 days ago

    It isn’t about minerals. You become food for the critters and microorganisms and your resources are placed back into the natural cycle.

  • foobar_ 5 days ago

    But ... there's 50 kg of meat for an average person. Should be good for a whole week!