back to article Dieting cannibals: At last, a scientist has calculated calories for human body parts

Imagine this: You’re trapped on a desert island. You’ve eaten nothing for 20 days and as you grow increasingly delirious, your friend who is also stuck in this godforsaken place begins to look appetizing... which part of the body should you eat first? According to a bizarre paper published in Scientific Reports, consuming body …

  1. mr. deadlift
    Pint

    Fa-fa-fa-fava beans and Chianti please, I'm hungry.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      I prefer lamb to be honest, especially the silent ones

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Amarone please!

      1. jake Silver badge

        Amarone with pork?

        Heathan!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    65kg human?

    Ha Ha and the rest, the rest being mostly fat of course.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: 65kg human?

      I guess this average would include the usually lighter fairer sex too. Also, back then people would have no had the easy access to refined sugar and other crap food like we do today.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 65kg human?

      and the rest

      Well your average American is 80.7 kg, apparently (unfashionable thought it may be, I'm trusting Wikipedia). Assuming that's about 15 kg of additional lard, we're talking an extra 135,000 calories.

      Cannibals today, they have it easy, I tell you.

  3. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Hungry?

    Well, if the cannibals were hungry, then I guess it's a good thing that they had a helping hand...

  4. jake Silver badge

    After 20 days on a desert island ...

    ... I will have been dining on seafood for 19 days.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: After 20 days on a desert island ...

      ...using your colleague as bait

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: After 20 days on a desert island ...

        ...using your colleague as bait

        I asked him if he'd be my chum, and he said yes.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: After 20 days on a desert island ...

        No need. The ocean provides perfectly good bait.

    2. JLV Silver badge

      Re: After 20 days on a desert island ...

      You'll need a tourniquet and a good supply of morphine.

      Yum, they taste just like lady fingers...

  5. Mr. Pi

    Comparisons ...

    I think this information should be added to The Reg online standards convertor.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a good study but what wine goes best? Red or a White?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      As mr. deadlift has pointed out above, there's only one option....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's a good study but what wine goes best? Red or a White?

      Depends on the cut, age and gender of the donor..

      Older meat probably needs a more robust red. Younger, more tender meat could go quite nicely with a good Pinot Grigio.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >>Younger, more tender meat

        Ah, Veal! ;)

  7. VinceH
    Coat

    "Dr James Cole, a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at The University of Brighton in the UK,"

    ...and a time traveller, which may be helpful for his job. Just saying.

  8. Mr Dogshit
    Headmaster

    Obviously not written by a proper scientist

    seeing as the international scientific unit of energy is the kilojoule.

    Calories, if I remember correctly, were invented by an American fellow who burnt certain foodstuffs and measured the amount of heat released during that process. As even a four year old knows, burning food isn't the same as digesting it.

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Obviously not commented by a proper scientist

      The SI unit for energy is the joule, not the kilojoule.

      The kilojoule is used in the context of food energy, where the Calorie (or kilocalorie) is equally commonly used, so there's nothing wrong with its use it in this article.

      As for the calorie, it has always been defined as the energy needed to heat 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. Wikipedia tells me it was invented by a French chemist.

      1. Bandikoto
        Facepalm

        $ units grams lines

        A calorie (cal) is the unit that raises 1g of water 1C, which is about 4.184 joules (per El GOOG), for those of you in countries not suffering from a hodge-podge of units systems that don't correlate with each other - the calorie being a perfect example - sounds like a SI unit, but isn't. Personally, I blame the French. This unit isn't used except in middle school science class, when the concept is demonstrated to you. A calorie smells like burnt sugar. The only people that remember this is those who didn't spend the latter part of their pre-university schooling drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis.

        Now, food energy in silly-unit countries (as opposed to countries that use SI units) is quoted in kilocalories, and is written Calories or Cal. (4184 joules or 4.184kJ)

        For what it's worth, the number of Americans who aren't aware that there are 28 grams in an ounce is vanishingly small. (Although be aware there's the "Isn't it 30 grams to the ounce?" crowd, but that's within 10% now, isn't it? At least they have a feel for the general size of the unit.)

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: $ units grams lines

          Personally, I blame the French. This unit isn't used except in middle school science class, when the concept is demonstrated to you.

          Err... it's used on every package of food sold in America. But then, everyone ignores that table of information or maybe think "higher is better" when it comes to the amount of calories.

        2. MondoMan
          WTF?

          Re: $ units grams lines

          "the number of Americans who aren't aware that there are 28 grams in an ounce is vanishingly small."

          Your definition of "vanishingly small" seems to be "approximately 300 million".

  9. Lee D Silver badge

    I would posit that if it's just you and a friend on a desert island, that by the time you've killed them, you'd only get a day or two of meals out of them before the body was too rotten / infested to continue.

    And in that day or two, you're not going to be able to get through a human-worth of meat. At most you'd get through a leg, I should imagine, judging by the size of a decent sirloin steak.

    Cannibalism is not only inefficient, it's dangerous (humans fight back more), counter-productive to the continuation of the species in general (from killing your own to growing distrust among social groups), wasteful even if performed en-masse, and worsens as famine etc. worsen anyway - there's only a small gain from eating your diseased/starved friend, for instance, compared to having two people hunt food.

    There are many reasons that it's rare. But biggest of them is that it's a bit pointless.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      He is on a desert island. Presumably in the sea? What do you think the salt is for - curing obviously. And of course all that sun would come in handy for a bit of hot saps jerky production.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Curing still needs the flies to be removed.

        You could smoke it, but if you have a campfire, you could cook it anyway.

        Smoking/curing/cooking a 65kg human is going to take you longer than it takes to go off, if you're on your own with no resources.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Smoking/curing/cooking a 65kg human is going to take you longer than it takes to go off, if you're on your own with no resources.

          I'm rather worried that you either know this, or have at least been giving it this much thought.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      that by the time you've killed them, you'd only get a day or two of meals out of them before the body was too rotten / infested to continue.

      Ever heard of smoking? Use lots of green wood and do a nice[1] cold-smoke.

      Or salting - after all, the ocean is really, really close.

      Or just plain cooking - that'll mean the meat lasts a bit longer.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "you'd only get a day or two of meals out of them before the body was too rotten / infested to continue."

      1) Trick your mate so there's no fight, and immobilise him

      2) Amputate a lower limb - cauterise and apply a makeshift tourniquet to prevent the resource spoiling

      3) Eat limb before it goes off - cooked or raw according to preference

      4) Keep former mate supplied with water - in circumstances sea water is adequate

      5) GoTo 3 (adapting as necessary)

      Obviously this isn't going to be a great "customer journey" for your mate, but surely better than both of you starving?

      1. lowwall

        2) Amputate a lower limb - cauterise and apply a makeshift tourniquet to prevent the resource spoiling...

        You've just described the opening of Richard Morgan's sci-fi novel Thirteen. Now I really enjoyed his earlier future-noir books, but this was a bit off for my taste. (sorry)

  10. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Two cannibals sharing

    a comedian, one says to the other, does this taste funny to you?

    Yes, my coat with the salt shaker and pepper mill in the pocket!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Two cannibals sharing

      Do you hear about the cannibal that passed his friend in the woods?

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: NTNON plane crash. "It was our only chance"

      Since we're doing acronyms today, MPFC had the topic pretty much covered as well.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Boffin

    Research soon to be nominated for an (Ig)Nobel prize!

    I think this is definitely in the running in next year's awards.

  13. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    For accuracy..

    Wouldn't you have to take a corpse and burn it by increments in a bomb calorimeter, which is the standard test for assessing calories in a food?

    It also looks like zombies are pretty stupid. Craving brains all the time while they should be saying "Thighs! Thighs!" for maximum nutrition.

  14. MondoMan
    Mushroom

    What about zombies?

    Given their well-publicized appetite for human brains, and no reason to think they're just a modern phenomenon, it's disappointing that they weren't considered by Fatboy Slim and his co-researchers.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the Donner party

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Party

  16. Toni the terrible
    Happy

    Basic Research

    Basic Research for the Solyent Green Project perhaps?

  17. R.P.Charlie

    Cannibalism in 1930's Ukraine

    Stalin's man-made famine, known as the Holodomor, killed about 7 million people, and it is known that some adults killed and consumed their children.

    Not a nice thought to start guessing what they started on for the first course.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As everyone knows

    The correct wine to go with human flesh is Chianti.

    AC

  19. Ahab Returns

    I wonder if Vegetarians and/or Vegans would have fewer calories than we carnivores?

    Certainly, it would be useful to know the eating habits of the food source, simply as part of the selection process (unless you can have a veggie cannibal of course).

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