Re: How is this not cannibalism?
Earlier today, I wrote about Mad Men star January Jones revealing to People magazine that she has joined the trend of eating ones own placenta in pill form after the birth of her son. Chris Field then posed the question: How is this not cannibalism?
Field cites the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of “placenta” as an “organ…that unites the fetus to the maternal uterus…” This organ is a temporary one, developing during pregnancy. When a mammal gives birth the placenta is usually shed after delivery, and, as I noted in the original post, some mammals often partake in eating their own placenta. But is this really cannibalism?
To follow Chris’s example, let’s start with the definition of “cannibalism” according to Merriam-Webster:
1: the usually ritualistic eating of human flesh by a human being2: the eating of the flesh of an animal by another animal of the same kind
When picturing an act of cannibalism, many probably call to mind a Hannibal Lecter-like image where a person is gnawing on another persons bone or muscle, but Merriam-Webster doesn’t specify exactly what constitutes “human flesh.” This leaves us to assume that eating any part of the human body would be considered cannibalism.
Since Chris refutes the comparison with booger eating, as boogers are the result of a secretion, let’s limit human flesh to constitute organs and components of organ systems. There are eight organ systems in the human body: skeletal, muscular, circulatory, nervous, respiratory, excretory, reproductive, and integumentary. It is this last organ system that I’ll focus on for our purposes.
The integumentary system includes skin and all appendages related to skin, such as hair and nails. Hmm, nails. So, are people who bite their nails cannibals? And what about cuticle biters? That’s like eating skin. This is a good comparison for the placenta-cannibal argument as moms like Jones are eating their own placenta, not that of others. So, both these situations could be considered self-cannibalism.
Although, it could be argued the placenta pills are only half self-cannibalism because the mother would never have had the placenta if it weren’t for the child. Therefore, the placenta could be considered half the child’s organ.
With all this in mind, I think Chris’s question still stands, but now has even more food — gross — for thought. Who’s ready for lunch?
- ‘Bigoted, Religious [Zealots]‘: High School Senior Allegedly Expelled, Charged With Felonies Over Gay Relationship With ‘Consenting’ Fellow Student 975 Comments
- ‘The Daily Show’ Creator Makes Outrageously Offensive Anti-Conservative Joke About Okla. Tornado 424 Comments
- Washington Times Writer: Fox News Scandal Goes ‘Much Deeper,’ W.H. Sitting on Something Top Obama Aides ‘Terrified’ About 372 Comments
- University Will Investigate Christian Professor’s Intelligent Design Class Following Atheist Furor 287 Comments
- CNN Poll: Obama’s Approval Rating Unchanged Since Scandals Hit 255 Comments
- Is This Video of Pope Francis Performing an Exorcism? Read More
- Boston Cardinal Snubs Irish PM Over Abortion Support Read More
- Incredible: The Moment a Woman’s Dog Emerges from Rubble During TV Interview Right After She Describes Losing Him 131 Comments
- See the First Behind-the-Scenes Photos as Beck and Mercury One Survey the Damage in Okla. 171 Comments
- Here’s the Inspirational Story of an American Flag Hanging Amid the Oklahoma Tornado’s Destruction Read More
- Disgraced IRS Interim Chief Now Fully Admits Knowledge of Planted Question (but Did It Reveal a Past Half-Truth?) Read More
- Ex-IRS Chief: I Have no Idea How This Conservative Targeting Happened Read More
- Treasury Sec. Ready to Deploy ‘Extraordinary Measures’ as U.S. Hits Debt Limit (Again) Read More
- ‘In the End, Everything Will Be Claimed’: Creator of First 3D-Printed Gun Highlights Creeping Gov’t Control of Technology Read More
- Sebelius’ Controversial Fundraising Efforts Raise Concerns, Allegedly Chase Away Potential Donors Read More
- Meet the Blind Man Nicknamed ‘Midnight Gunslinger’ Who Has 80% Shot Accuracy Read More
- How a $4.5 Million Network of 181 Sirens Helped Save Lives in Oklahoma Twister Read More
- See the Record-Setting Python a Man Caught With His Bare Hands (and Guess How Much It Weighed) Read More
- This Teen’s Invention Means You Could Charge Your Cellphone in Less Than 30 Seconds 100 Comments
- One of the Most Unlikely Animals Being Trained to Hunt Land Mines Read More
- ‘First they came for Fox News…’
- Most Republicans not following news about Obama admin’s three scandals ‘very closely’
- Obama DOJ relied on 1917 Espionage Act to target ‘co-conspirator’ Fox News
- Stuart Stevens predicts racist ‘small cable show’ co-hosted by Sharpton, Weiner
- Report: More Benghazi whistleblowers to come forward?
- Protesters chant 'Stop the IRS' in Cincinnati
- More attacks across Iraq kill 13 people
- Police release photos from Tucson shooting rampage
- Power of Moore tornado dwarfs Hiroshima bomb
- Warsaw ghetto insurgent Boruch Spiegel dies at 93
- Face-chewing victim recovering, strumming guitar
- Syria opposition signals tough line on peace talks
- Algerian president leaves Paris military hospital