A recent study supports the idea that extracting hidden insects such as termites and ants to eat by capuchins and other primates such as humans (who have a long history of entomophagy), especially during seasons where other foods are less available, has led to adaptations in parts of the brain, causing increased manual dexterity, tool use, and innovative problem solving among entomophagous primates.
Original article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004724841400044X
Click the title for a Livescience.com article about a few popular insects eaten around the world, and their important potential as a more ubiquitous food source in the future given the global food (esp. protein) shortage crises.
Some students from McGill University in Canada won the 2013 Hult prize, providing $1,000,000 in seed money for their project making protein-rich flour from insects, starting with grasshoppers (yes, 1 million bucks for bugs).
Click on title to link to a TED video lecture advocating entomophagy (eating insects).
Our ancestors all ate insects, and I’m not talking about just monkeys and apes! Nearly all hunter-gatherers worldwide ate insects as an essential part of their diet. Many cultures worldwide, such as in Southeast Asia, still eat tons of insects, and consider many varieties to be fine delicacies. Insects are super healthy, full of protein and good fats, easily gathered, and are way more energetically efficient than vertebrate foods. Since meat production is one of the biggest causes of global warming and environmental degradation, going back to eating insects would be a great solution.
Eastern Nevada Indians hunted Mormon crickets at certain times, getting huge returns of meat for their time. American Indians all ate grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids in large numbers, and had many different methods of hunting them. The Mormon cricket is a large member of the katydid family found in the US Southwest.
Mormon cricket (Anabrus simplex)
Here was an interesting method used for capturing them:
On flat lands below foothills, quite a number of trenches were dug measuring a foot wide, a foot deep, and about 30-40 feet long, shaped like a new crescent moon with the horns facing uphill. The trenches were in a row, with ends joined or very close. The trenches were covered with a thin layer of stiff wheat grass straw.
At the hottest part of the day, the Indians divided into two parties, each going to one end of the trenches, and lined…
View original post 346 more words
Stinging nettles (genus Urtica) are widespread in Northern Hemisphere temperate regions and are all edible. Urtica is simple to ID; just touch it and if you immediately feel a burning, it’s a nettle! (Ur = burn in Latin, and urtica = nettle in Latin). The burning sensation tapers off in severity after a few minutes, but its after-effects (particularly felt when the afflicted part is put under hot water, or subjected to heat) can last up to a whole day. The chemical is formic acid (the same chemical in ant stings), which is injected by tiny hollow hairs covering all the aboveground plant parts.
If you don’t want to touch it, just look closely for densely packed hairs on the leaves, which become larger and more sparse on the stems, almost appearing like spines. But that’s not a fail-safe ID method unless you have otherwise familiarized yourself with its…
View original post 286 more words