Lotophagi among us: scientists have explained who eat the earth

Lotophagi among us: scientists have explained who eat the earth

MOSCOW, 25 Jul — RIA Novosti, Alfia Enikeeva. Stones in the stomachs of poultry and fossil reptiles are not uncommon. Eat soil and some people. In science this is called lithofacies and pica. RIA Novosti says, which hypotheses put forward by scientists to explain this phenomenon.

Earthen casserole

In the Indonesian village of Taban every morning local residents go to the rice fields. But their purpose is not rice, and a soft and humid soil, from which with the help of sticks, bamboo knife and fire, they cooked a traditional dish of AMAP. Indonesians believe that the earth helps against headache and toothache, and if it is during pregnancy, then the newborn will be healthy and beautiful skin.

Tabenska farmers are not the only community on the planet, consider the ground fit for food. The pica is found among the tribes of the Amazon basin and southern Africa. The soil ate in India “clay Mughal” in New Zealand — the British were discouraged, realizing that “oatmeal natives” consists of grayish-yellow soil of volcanic origin. Two centuries ago, the earth fed and in Russia — on the coast of the sea of Okhotsk used edible clay, known as excavation sour cream.

Today, in developed countries, cases of eating human stones and soil are recorded only when depression and mental disorders. The other thing is our smaller brethren.Reptiles prefer the stones, and elephants — clay

Among lithophaga dominated by animals with a muscular stomach of birds, reptiles, amphibians and some species of fish. For example, gastroliths (stones so called in the stomach) find herbivorous dinosaurs. Of mammals pinnipeds swallow stones only. The other frequently eat soil.

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In the book “Litepage: geological, environmental, and biomedical aspects”, the Russian biologist Alexander Panichev said that stokilogrammovye deer at a time, eats from one to five pounds of clay, and the elephant weighing five tons can absorb it in buckets.

The mineral composition of rocks and soil, being consumed by birds, reptiles, amphibians, are almost identical and does not depend on where they live. It is, as a rule, crystals of quartz or fragments of silicified rocks, feldspar. In mammals, on the contrary, tastes are very diverse and associated with climatic conditions in which they live, the climate determines the nature of weathering of rocks and, consequently, the composition of the secondary minerals.

So, the animals of temperate and high latitudes eating clay minerals from the group of hydromicas and chlorites, tropical and subtropical species from the group of kaolinite. Inhabitants of regions with young volcanic rocks prefer smectites.To stomach working, the toxins are washed

Scientists believe that litepage is a way to compensate for the deficiency in nutrition, but what exactly — no consensus. The most common hypothesis: absorbing rocks and soil, animals, especially herbivores, eliminate the shortage of sodium in the body. Therefore, their diet is dominated by enriched deficient element in plants (most water types), saline water and rocks.

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However, this theory is not consistent with the data in his monograph cites Alexander Panichev: half of the mammals and all the birds of sodium out of the ground is not absorbed well.

According to another version, minerals normalize pH in the digestive tract. Once in the intestine, they absorb phosphorus and other substances playing the role of weakly acidic electrolytes. This is based on another hypothesis, according to which animals use natural sorbents as an antidote. Experiments have shown that rats and monkeys by poisoning swallow the earth, to neutralize trapped in the body of the poison.