Cannibalism by Bill Schutt
A Perfectly Natural History

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Synopsis

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 zoologist 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 to execution of Jews by Catholics 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.
 

About Bill Schutt

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BILL SCHUTT is an associate professor of biology at C.W. Post College in Long Island and a research associate in mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published February 14, 2017 by Algonquin Books. 352 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Cannibalism

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Among beasts, the preferred meal is of one's own children – larvicide and infanticide take the cake. They eat it, too

Feb 17 2017 | Read Full Review of Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natu...

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In the natural world, strangers eat strangers, parents eat their children, children eat their parents and siblings eat each other — and they do it a lot.

Jan 31 2017 | Read Full Review of Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natu...

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Cannibalism is more widespread than generally believed, argues zoologist Schutt in this thorough and oddly enticing study of the different ways species eat their own. Common practices among tadpoles,

Jun 02 2017 | Read Full Review of Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natu...

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In this comprehensive account of a taboo practice, Schutt (Dark Banquet), professor of biology at LIU-Post, finds that cannibalism is more widespread than generally believed and proffers insi

Oct 21 2016 | Read Full Review of Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natu...

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