[extropy-chat] Animal fasting in the wild

Terry W. Colvin fortean1 at mindspring.com
Thu Apr 29 23:57:00 UTC 2004

Forwarding permission was given by William R. Corliss.

Science Frontiers, No. 152, May-Jun, 2004, p. 2
< http://www.science-frontiers.com >


Animal fasting in the wild

Zoo animals, farm animals, and pets are fed daily by their human captors.
Wild animals often go without food because there isn't any or they can't
catch it.  Or, perhaps they are hibernating, or maybe one big meal is
sufficient for a month or two.  Beyond all these reasons for the erratic
consumption of food there is the surprising claim that animals in the
wild also fast naturally even when food is available---"they choose not
to eat one day out of seven."

This claim is made in the book referenced below without any scientific

(Sandow, Stuart A., et al; *Durations*, New York, 1977, p. 108.
Cr. P. Gunkel.)

Comment.  Obviously, we would like more information backing this claim.

Some lab experiments with mice suggest that meager diets promote longevity.
Also, many religions post fasting periods on their calendars.  The reasons
given are mystical but could have a biological basis.

In eating regularly are humans overriding some natural, biologically valuable

[Science Frontiers is a bimonthly collection of digests of scientific
anomalies in the current literature.  Published by the Sourcebook Project,
P.O. Box 107, Glen Arm, MD 21057.  Annual subscription: $8.00.]

"Only a zit on the wart on the heinie of progress." Copyright 1992, Frank Rice

Terry W. Colvin, Sierra Vista, Arizona (USA) < fortean1 at mindspring.com >
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