Jerky Or Braces?

Well, in the continuing saga of wisdom teeth, I’ve stumbled onto a rather odd thing. Not so odd once you think it through, but still, odd when you first hear it.

Want to avoid braces? Feed your kids jerky, nuts, trail mix… and give them a rawhide chew toy.

No, honest. I’m not making this up!

Not only that, but folks have actually studied this. Real science with lab rats and everything.

What’s going on? Pretty simple, really: Bones need stress to generate piezoelectric currents that signal the growth mechanism to keep the bone density up. Impact exercise keeps your bones strong. I’d also read where ancient Greek Olympians had skeletons that told you what sport they performed. Javelin throwers would have one arm with clearly heavier bones. Some sources just say ‘larger’ and it’s easy to assume that means ‘thicker’, but in fact it’s a bit ambiguous about just which axis is larger. For the jaw, “this matters”… Yes, the jaw is just another bone and it, too, gets “larger” with repeated stressing. The stress of chewing, for example. Again, not a real surprise once you think about it… but… The degree of “larger” and the form it takes was a bit of a surprise to me.

Some Specifics

This link looks like the study guide for a very interesting class about teeth.

It has gems like when orthodontics started. WAAAAAY earlier than I’d have ever thought

The practice of orthodontics probably began with the Etruscans in the 8th to fourth century BC. In their practice, wires were used for closing the space left by a tooth lost in life. Today the practice of orthodontics flourishes around the world, as witnessed by travelers to any large city, even in the Third World. It is estimated that at least one-half of American youth could benefit from orthodontic therapy. In the U.S., it has become the largest single precollege line item expense for families with children.

Yeah, that’s BC, as in over 2000 years ago… Christ could have had braces… (but probably didn’t as folks then had straighter teeth). Still, BC? The page has an image of Etruscan braces and retainers… Wire bridges between teeth to put them where desired. I don’t know about you, but I find that rather astounding.

But there’s a lot more…

The first comprehensive inquiry into malocclusion and its causes was by Weston Price. In the 1930s, he travelled the world to document the nutritional habits and physical degeneration of people living on contemporary ‘civilized’ diets. He found a significant incrase in malocclusion in societies living on contemporary diets of prepared foods from domesticated crops.

His work is ignored today, dismissed for its association with alternative medicine and lack of academic rigor demanded now in scientific literature. His evidence was largely anectodal. Yet, read carefully, Price reveals himself as a perceptive. thoughtful, and penetrating thinker.

What he observed about dental degradation is not in dispute. The core of his observations is this: The incidence of malocclusion amongst aboriginal peoples increased after contact with commercial societies. He examined both living populations and many collections of archaeological material.

Yes, it’s THAT Weston Price… But as the author notes, he did decent work on teeth. The article also cites a more recent (1991) article that looks at the same issue and confirms the conclusions. So get past the Weston Price name, and look at what was found. “Primitive people” had good teeth alignment, westerners did not. When Aboriginals started eating soft western diets, they got more malocclusion. It isn’t just the genetics of the jaw and teeth, it’s the usage history too.

Relatively little study has gone into probing the underlying causes of occlusal variation as compared with research into correction of orthodontic problems. The emphasis on clinical correction is understandable: in the United States, some 40-60% of youth have malocclusions, with orthodontic treatment either rated highly desirable, mandatory, or already under way. Such prevalence of occlusion that varies from the ideal is considered normal in our Western population. It is the the only epidemiological pattern familiar to American orthodontists.

An important consideration in understanding occlusal variation is this: there is a tendency amongst non-technologic human societies for virtually all individuals to show a nearly ideal occlusion. This observation gives rise to a theory widely favored among anthropologists which may be stated as follows:

Malocclusion arises from the lack of chewing stress with the modern processed diet. This disuse has reduced jaw growth and increased the incidence of occlusal variation.

If you don’t chew enough, the jaw doesn’t grow enough, and you don’t have enough room for the teeth, so it’s off to Braces Land. Want to avoid braces on the kids? Don’t feed them mushy peas, give them jerky and hard tack…

So how do you know it’s not just something genetic about Europeans? Is it possible that the Yankee and the Brit, the Southern Gentlefolk and the Germanics just have teeth too big for their mouths?

A rural community in the Mammoth Cave region of central Kentucky was surveyed over a 25 year period as it made the transition to industry and mechanized farming. The diet at the outset was home-produced foods (especially dried pork and fried cornbread) which provided consistently stressful chewing. The transition was from this to a diet of purchased supermarket foods. This study was of special interest since diet changed but residence did not. Furthermore, these are people in the same society–it is not a cross-cultural study with its inherent problems of different genetic constitutions.

Arch breadth was smaller and significantly more variable in younger individuals. Bigonial breadth, measured from an area affected by the medial pterygoid and masseter muscle action was considerably smaller in the younger sample. This study tends to suggest that there is a genetic predisposition or susceptibility to be diverted from programmed oral growth pathway by environmental factors. Lack of function, therefore, led to a different phenotypic expression–one with more occlusal variation. (My note: physical anthropologists who have compared pre-contact Eskimo lower jaws with living peoples today comment are the robustisity of the ancient peoples who used their teeth for many paramasticatory purposes such as softening animal skins.

So it doesn’t matter if you are a European in Kentucky or an Inuit Eskimo. The rule is “Chew it or lose it!”

With no change in genetics, just a change in how much chewing was done, the jaw changes and the teeth have too little room. (One wonders if looking at old photographs would show any systematic change of facial ‘look’ too?)

The simple fact is that the jaw is part of a working system that needs to be exercised to work and develop properly. The modern preprocessed soft diet just does not do that.

The article goes on to find similar things in India and Australia.

They also find that significant chewing can wear the sides of the teeth and the tooth crowns such that the teeth need less room and can ‘snuggle up’ in less space. We are designed to expect that tooth wear. When it isn’t there, it contributes to tooth crowding.

Here are a couple of images linked from that site. The first is a side by side of the “approved” alignment taught to most dentists along with, on the right, the alignment of the Begg Technique.

The consensus alignment on the left vs the more natural on the right

The consensus alignment on the left vs the more natural on the right

The second image shows the alignment of an Australian Aboriginal with normal chewing induced alignment.

Aboriginal Tooth Alignment

Aboriginal Tooth Alignment

Clearly there is a lot of room for creative interpretation on the part of othodontists… To my eye, it looks like the standard alignment is just making things line up in a “standard European with small jaw on soft food” look…

Felix, Fido, and Fluffy too?

So, is this just a Human problem? Well, no! Fido really does NEED that chew toy. Just like rabbits need to chew to keep the teeth worn (as they constantly grow), so too do the rest of us, rodents and non-rodents included.


Various experimental attempts to induce developmental change in the mammalian masticatory have been made. These have included mouth breathing induced by nasal passage blockage, stress to the masticatory apparatus or altered occlusal relationships, and calorie-deficient diets. Various studies have examined the influence of hardness or softness of the diet on the masticatory system experimentally.

Rats were fed either pelleted rat chow as hard diet or crushed water-softened chow as a soft diet. The soft-diet animals had smaller mandibles, with condyles smaller and radiographically less dense, they had less width of the maxillary arch,
and had smaller masseter and temporalis muscles.

A small population of rhesus macaques which spent a short period during adolescence on a soft instead of a hard diet revealed a significant narrowing of the maxillary arch in the soft-diet monkeys.

In the squirrel monkey, occlusal and craniofacal development on a soft diet was analogous to common human malocclusions
–mesially narrow and disproportionately long maxillary arches leading to incisor overjet and occasional overbite. There were impacted malerupted premolars and second molars, malaligned premolar rows, and crowded and rotated incisors. In contrast, mediolateral arch breadths were significantly larger in hard diet animals.

Baboons fed a very soft atherogenic diet consisting of cholesterol-rich foods, lard, butter, egg yolks, and powdered chow were compared with hard diet controls. The various occlusal anamolies were restricted to the soft diet experimental animals, some being quite typical of human malocclusions.

These studies suggest that a diet of foods requiring chewing is important in coordinating occlusofacial growth and reducing occlusal variation. Should our children eat beef jerky instead of Twinkies?

I just wish I’d known this 20 years ago… My kids would have been given a rawhide chew toy for Christmas and a whole lot more jerkey ;-)

This is a generic trait of mammals (and perhaps more species too) and not specific to humans. It is fundamental. We simply need to chew more or we will have smaller weaker jaws and poorly fitting teeth.

What about those wisdom teeth?


Humans evolved in a high dental attrition environment. At the same time, excessively large teeth may have been a selective disadvantage to an individual. Mastication of tough foods not only involved wear of the occlusal surfaces, but also movement of each tooth within its alveolus, constrained by the periodontal ligament. This movement of teeth within the dental arch also resulted in wear on the interproximal surfaces. This resulted in reduced tooth diameters in the mesio-distal dimension.

Combined with physiological mesial drift, humans would effectively achieve an increasing retromolar space as they age. The delayed eruption of the third molar seems to be an evolutionary adaptation to interproximal wear of the cheek teeth. It seems that the size of teeth were selected in anticipation of the wear and migration of the dental arcade to create sufficient room for the third molars.

The recent secular trend in increasing impactions does not seem to be a genetic change in humans. It is, instead, merely a response to a soft food diet. Without interproximal wear of the teeth, there simply is not enough room for third molar. Other factors at work with modern soft diets is dental arch width: narrower dental arches that result from disuse also contribute to shorter dental arches with less space available distal to second molars.
(My note: for further discussion on these issues, see Mucci below.)

So while there will be some genetic component (my spouse having only 2 wisdom teeth, for example) the big bit is just that we’ve gone all soft, at least in terms of food choices.

In Conclusion

So, this must be a relatively new theory, just busting through to ‘mainstream’ now, right? Since you haven’t heard of it, it must be because your doctor, dentist, teachers, et. al. have not yet had the time for this to be disseminated…

…or maybe not. From the articles conclusion:

The disuse theory for occlusal deterioration says that we no longer use our masticatory apparatus vigorously and therefore it does not grow properly. This notion is quite old. Disuse theory was always included in the original etiological lists in Angle’s and other early textbooks. It disappeared from them in the 1920s.

Yet more old wisdom being learned, again…

There is a genetic component, that I’ll cover in another page, and it does relate to Neanderthal genes, but that has more to do with a small subset of the population and much less to do with most folks around the world.

For now, I’m thinking that maybe there’s a product to be made out of this. Chew toys for tots… Not just pacifiers for infants, but dog bone like toys for kids all the way into high school… Hard to chew chewing gum too. Things that give the old teeth a real workout. I know it would sell with the right packaging… and we’d need to recruit some big jawed footballers to be seen on camera chewing on their Dog Bone Chew Toy before they took to the field :-) , but I’m sure it’s a winner. I’d even suggest that folks would get used to hearing at the fast food place “You want rawhide with that?” ;-)

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Jerky Or Braces?

  1. DocMartyn says:

    Pha! I laugh at you musings on teeth and bones interactions, I give you brains and hands

    Click to access uomini09_jhe_inpress.pdf

    Look at Tables 1 and 2., even looking at fTestosterone and Mendelian genetics, it still make no sense.

    We know nothing.

  2. kuhnkat says:

    “You want rawhide with that?”

    Yes, cat-o-nine should do, thank you.

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    Brings a whole new meaning to being “into leather” ;-)


    Typical flawed papers. Heavy on the “what’s wrong with lefties?” POV looking for a ‘problem’ via statistical hand waving.

    Also, they will never find success as long as they are looking at Left vs Right when the reality is much more complex.

    At a minimum they need to look at Left vs Right vs Ambidextrous. In reality, there are at least 5 kinds of handedness. Some Lefties are right brain dominant. Some are left brain dominant, but without the crossover. Same thing for right handers. Rt x Lt Brain and Rt -Rt Brain exist. Then there are the ‘decline to state Ambies… So trying to map that into Lt vs Rt is doomed to fail (thus, IMHO, a lot of the mixed and bizarre results.)

    They also need to sort out the facultative handers vs the obligatory handers. I’m what I’d call a “preferential left / facultative right”. Now you need to add the “strength” metric. I’m only very weakly “preferential left” so was easily influenced to swap to right for writing. Now, you could say (as one of the papers did) that non-writing skills then reflect the actual handedness. Except… Every time I’d go to learn a handed task, folks would ask “what hand to you write with” (i.e. in 4th grade when doing a high jump and needing to pick an approach side…) So I had lots of ‘secondary skills’ also trained right handed. (sometimes “against my will”).

    Only later did I learn that the reason I did a lot of them poorly was because while they trained my hands, my feet still wanted to “start on the left foot”… so I’d arrive at the jump with the feet on the wrong stride…

    OK, many years later I took Karate and found that I was pretty good at it. I was not “physically uncoordinated”, I just need a non-handed environment in which to move… I’m equally comfortable with left and right stances, left and right blocks, punches, kicks, you name it. Surprises the heck out of folks some times…

    Along the way, before that, I’d learned that I could throw a ball equally with either hand (unfortunately poorly with either as I have Neandertal style hip structure… very high iliac crest, poor rotation) and do a variety of other things equally well with either hand. (For example, I sign ASL in an ambidextrous style – something my teacher said was bad to do as it can confuse the reader and he wanted me to do it right hand style as that’s the hand I write with… more of that subtle cultural pressure to be one handedness…) Some things I do better left handed. Most all ‘fixturing tasts” and a lot of small fine motor tasks. The things I do better right handed are usually things I’ve practiced a lot that way (often before I decided I could decide what hand to use, not some other idiot…) So I can write with either hand, but the left hand is shaky at it. About like a first year writer… Needs about 5 years of practice to develop the muscle emory and I’m not willing to put in the effort at this point. It does “mirror writing” better as the muscle movements are the same as normal direction right handed writing. I’ve done both at the same time and it’s kind of creepy to watch – two hands writing at once with mirror images coming out ;-)

    So, some other idiot trying to find “what’s wrong with left handers” asks me what handedness I am (often phrased as ‘what hand do you write with” and may get “right” or “left” depending on how the question is phrased…

    BTW, you can tell the brain lateralization vs handedness by how the pen is held. If the hand is curled over the top, IIRC, it’s a Lt hand Lt brain. Non-curled is Lt hand Rt brain. (again, IIRC…) Though with some folks ‘trained out of it’ by generations of teachers… ( I remember one poor girl driven near to tears by nagging not to curl from persistent teachers…)

    OK, back at the article: I do have to thank you a great deal for it. I had suspected for a long time that I had a more functional Corpus Callosum (and I have a lot of the other things they list under advantages, like both sides working better with each other than most folks, better verbal fluency, better memory, high creativity, gifted IQ, enhanced math skills. But the one that really is gratifying is the point about language localization.

    I occasionally have what I call a ‘word collision’. Like two synonyms colliding on the one tongue, each chosen by a different language center. “I’d like a big coke” and “I’d like a large coke” comes out “I’d like a barge coke”…. There are a few other clues like that, but you get the idea…

    So reading that 97% of Right Handers are language localized to the Left hemisphere but that 30% of Left Handers are bilateralized… That “makes my day” as it confirms something I’ve long suspected: Some folks can have language on both sides of the brain.

    BTW, the rest of the Left Hander stats are enlightening. 60% are left hemisphere language localized – same brain layout as Right handers, but with a hand preference swap. 10% are right hemisphere language localized. ( I.e. simple mirror image of Rt handers.) I’d assert that the 30% bilateralized are most likely really ambidexters but perhaps “ambidexters with attitude” ;-)

    It’s a bit disconcerting, though, to think that I’d be counted in the 3% of right handers who are not left language center localized… Then again, I always knew I was “special” ;-)

    One final point. At one school, one class of kids had a ‘way high’ number of left handers in the class. Something like 40%. Looking into “why”, they found that it was simply that THEY had had their first two teachers in a row as Left Handers who had simply not “pushed” kids to be right handed… Didn’t push for left either, but ‘kids model on the teacher’… so IMHO some of the more ‘plastic’ righties and ambidexters swapped over.

    So the final point those ‘researchers’ need to realize is that “handedness” is VERY plastic. You need a better way to determine it than asking what hand you write with or looking at pictures of folks waving. ( I wave with whichever hand will be seen better, is not holding something, or won’t hit the arm of the person next to me… so it will change from picture to picture).

    My belief is that it’s really a bell curve. Perhaps not ‘bell normal’, but with a bias to the right handed side. Maybe 10% obligatory left handed, 40% obligatory right handed. 50% can slop back and forth with varying degrees of success. IF that is true, all the mapping it onto various “left have more testosterone exposure” or “left have weaker immunity” is just more “Dancing in the statistical error bands” of a lousy selection method and a poor thesis (that folks are binary left or right).

    At any rate, thanks for the read, even if it did start me on a rant ;-)

  4. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Dental decay is also relatively new. HFCS and Sucrose are denatured sugars. It’s a bit like Cocaine. If you chew the Coca leaves, you get helpful effects for altitude, don’t get hungry and have more endurance. And it’s totally non-addictive. But if you concentrate the coca leaves, you get cocaine. Which is damaging and addicitive. The same applies with Sugar. Sugar is the most dangerous element that we consume if in processed form. It causes oxidation of cells, causing us to age and probably a lot of cancers. It causes dental decay. If you eat non extracted elements, there are protective factors inside, you you won’t get decay. If you eat drink soda pop, and the more you do it (since the bacteria have low thresholds) the more decay you will get. Since the bacteria which eat your teeth are not big, you don’t need much sugar for them to start producing acid. So essentially if your nibbling large amounts of sugar over and over your feeding the bacteria over and over (and losing calcified tooth to acid attack). If you have a massive cake in one hit it’s less damaging to your teeth then nibbling tiny amounts of candies all day long.

    Also periodontal disease, there is connections to the immune system, as it’s the host response which destroys the bone. So I think there is a connection with Vitamin D, which lowers the immune system. Since we have an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency, we also should have increased periodontal disease, and probably dental caries as well.

    I don’t think we can fix malocclusion just with chewing, since we started it too late and the western diet is way too soft, especially the American one with their fake bread made with more sugar then Wheat or fat eg the Bagel. Old fashioned bread would have tiny rocks in it from the crushing of the grain.. ;)

  5. DocMartyn says:

    Chiefio, take your shoes off and look at the two types of wear pattern under the ball joint of the big toe.
    Where you have a circular wear pattern you have the ‘steering’ foot, where you have the toe to heel wear pattern, you have the power leg.

    My brother fits people with artificial legs. If an adult loses a leg, the time before they can walk well depends on which leg they lose. Loose your power leg, and you will rapidly gain mobility. lose your steering leg, and you have a much worse outcome.
    About 1% of people have no asymmetry.

  6. kuhnkat says:


    I really don’t know where you got this idea:

    “If you chew the Coca leaves, you get helpful effects for altitude, don’t get hungry and have more endurance. And it’s totally non-addictive.”

  7. kuhnkat says:


    got a link to pictures of the wear patterns?

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    I may be in the 1%… I’ll need to check another pair of shoes, but this one has both linear and circular striations on both shoes. Maybe a little more circular on the left, a bit more linear on the right. Thinking through how I move, I’ll pivot on whatever foot works best for that direction shift. OTOH, I’ve been skiing for decades and you kind of need to be able to swap steering foot as you traverse or you fall down a lot ;-) I’ve also had many years of karate training to do symmetrical kicks with even power and speed from either right or left foot as the base vs kicking foot. So training may have changed any original preference. I do know that in grammar school I was “left footed”. (It was the high jump event in about 5th grade where I ‘got clue’ as that particular coach had me re-do my first terrible jump with my feet in the “right” starting position. It felt alien… I then tried a jump from the ‘left handed side’ and it was much better. That’s when I learned NOT to answer “what handedness are you?” with “I write with my right hand”… and started a lifelong interest in my ‘mixed handedness’…


    I think he got it from stories of the Andes natives who use coca leaves for added endurance and hunger reduction (which it will provide – a known effect of cocaine). The assertion of ‘non addictive’ comes, I think, from the low dosage that makes it hard to get enough dose for serious addiction. It is very habit forming, though… Like coffee and tea. Not like I’m addicted to coffee, nosireee… I can quit any time. I’ve quit a hundred times in my life. Sometimes for weeks at a time. Once for a couple of years, even… I’m in complete control of it and it’s just not an addiction… I think I’ll go get a Tall Mocha before I make the next posting ;-)

  9. Pascvaks says:

    This came to mind (be kind, I have an ‘upside down’ brain I guess, everything’s always been caddywampus;-), OK… We have a cave man and a modern Brit. Two sets of totally different teeth. Two different diets. And.. this is what came to mind.. two totally different sets of good old Flora & Fauna in their guts. Over time the jaw bone and teeth change and we get the weak under-used jaw and teeth pattern (one thing that seemed to jump out at me in the UK was the various crooked teeth patterns). But today we all also have a totally different digestive track from our famous ancestor and that just has to argue for a different suseptibility to various, shall we say, environmental carcinogens, bacteria, virus, etc., that now wreak havoc on modern man. That’s it! We’ve discovered the cause of 80% (at least) of all our medical problems: cancer, ulcers, acne, balding?, what do you call that bone wasting thing old forks get?, bad teeth, bad breath?, weak eyes?, etc.?, etc.?, it’s all these funny little floras and faunas that we didn’t normally have until rather recently. My old Dad was right, we are what we eat!

    PS: Not picking on Brits, best bunch of folks in a fight you’d ever want on your side. (My teeth ain’t so good neither, niether, either, iether;-{

  10. Pascvaks says:

    PPS: MY astuteness in biogenics cometh from watching squirrels while outside over the course of 4 seasons ruining my health with an obnokous weed called tabackie. (Some spell it different in other parts of the planet.)

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    What makes you think our digestive tract is totally different from in the past? As near as I can tell, it’s about the same… Probably different antibodies from different exposures to ‘stuff’ and maybe a bit of overgrowth of ‘paunch’ from eating too much and doing too little, but… I think the genetics are about the same in the gut. Seems like if you change the behaviors the gut changes to match… ( if my occasional bouts of exercise, health food, and ‘diets’ provide valid data points… I think I’ll have a few beers while I think about it ;-)

    I suspect that just like “under use” explains a lot of the jaw / teeth issues, “over use” explains a lot of the digestive issues… We need to ‘chew more and eat less’… Guess that just leaves ‘coffee so strong you can chew it’ ;-)

  12. Pascvaks says:

    No, my point wasn’t about ‘use’ but the types of food and ‘meltdown’ process chemicals provided by all our little friends down there needed in the gut for the types of hard food consumed then vs soft foods now. The change in diet, the seasonal intake of large quantities of this and that which we (in the “Developed World”) now don’t generally have to contend with anymore, what with refrigeration, canning, superfast transportation, and nice, soft, sweet, and salty processing. Thought there just had to be bacterial changes too. Yes? No? Maybe?

  13. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    When you chew coca leaves, its the whole plant. So it’s not just a denatured concentrate. It’s not addictive. But if you concentrate it then it is. Basically you need a whole room of coca leaves almost to make Cocaine. The only reason its really banned is that idiots have to make cocaine out of it.

    Have you ever been to 6000m+? Or lived for long periods at 4000m?

    It’s very true about hunger suppression and endurance. For eg the miners in Potosi Bolivia (some children) chew it for that very reason. There is no rush or high when it is chewed. Similar to when you have Novocaine at the dentist, you just go knumb, but you don’t want to go back to the dentist to have more Novocaine do you?

  14. Scarlet Pumpernickel says: Chewing Coca is not seen as addictive, rather a habit. It’s the fact that people make cocaine out of it which has demonized it. And also the “War on Drugs” we have to make this thing really bad so that the price of it stays high. US is always annoying Bolivia about it’s use, but indigenous populations have used it for thousands of years. Problem is a lot of it is produced and exported to the US for Cocaine manufacturing.

    It also can be used in tea form, and most tourists in Chile, Bolivia, Peru use it to help with altitude sickness.

    When you live at 4000m it takes the edge off, otherwise you can always have a mild headache.

    Have you tried Diamox, that is the worst medication ever for altitude. Every time you take your dose, your fingers tingle and when it started wearing off your toes tingle. I actually found it was worse then the altitude yourself, though it’s supposedly supposed to prevent dangerous things that could kill you, though it’s not completely proven 100%. Real altitude sickness is terrible, it feels like the worst hangover you’ve ever had.

    Another South American interesting drug is the Angels Trumpet Plant which is a dangerous hallucinate. They used to give it to people on top of the volcanoes or other religious times when you were about to be sacrificed as you were totally drugged out and submissive so they could kill you without a fight. Even the Black Llamas got it before they were sacrificed to the Inca Gods. It grows in a lot of people’s gardens, but it’s highly poisonous. It’s amazing there still are black llamas in South America, considering they were constantly selected to be sacrificed…

  15. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Why do you think models use cocaine? It suppresses hunger and gives you endurance. So basically it helps them not eat lol

    Problem is, eventually they might end up with one single nostril. As it’s a vasodilator, so eventually all the blood vessels keep bursting and you end up with one big nostril ;)

  16. E.M.Smith says:


    Ah. got it. Yes, the guy flora are very different. I deal with gut flora issues from time to time. One particularly icky one is that if I’ve had some combination of the wrong foods and too much booze, the gut goes somewhat anaerobic and I get something that I think makes H2S. Headaches, motility stagnation. Smelly farts. Lethargy. Had it about 3 times in my life. Easily fixed with yogurt (with live bugs in it) and foods like salad and bulky fiber foods. Takes about 2 days to fix. Bunnies can get so sick they will die if their gut flora get out of whack.

    Clearly the bugs in the gut vary with the food and have a major impact. Substantially ignored by most medicine and most anthropology.

    IF we were eating a whole lot of raw greens and vegetables with dried meat and berries our gut flora would be a lot different AND our gut dynamics and shape would be different; even if the genetics didn’t change.

  17. Pascvaks says:

    I just put the question to Deinekes Anthropology Blog at –
    to see if anything had come out in this area regarding Oetzi the Iceman, being frozen right after eating, he should have something different in him than we do; and I also asked if he knew of anything that had come out about the Iceman’s lower jaw and teeth. Hope he’s not too busy to give me a lead or two.

  18. kuhnkat says:


    I have no issue with the part of the statement describing the use and reasons of use and effect of coca leaves in the Andes.

    you are talking to someone with personal experience with cocaine. Back in the 80’s I was addicted to it twice, That is, I was clean for over a year before trying it again and becoming addicted again. I have been off coke and cigarettes for about 21 years now. During that period I knew quite a few people who regularly used cocaine as a recreational drug and were never addicted. I and many others weren’t as lucky.

    I suggest you try a little research among the natives before claiming the leaves are not addictive. Like all other substances the addiction level depends on the physical and mental make up of the individual. There ARE natives that are addicted to coca leaves just as there are people addicted to betel nuts and other various natural items like marijuana and peyote.

  19. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    @Kuhnkat That could be likely due to long term use (the addiction with Coca Leaves). But if you go on a holiday and chew some Coca or drink some Coca tea your not going to get addicted. But if you try cocaine or another drug, it is likely you are.

    But chewing the leaves doesn’t really give you a high in any way. But it might be addictive if the habit becomes reinforces from long term use.

    Some of the locals use the Coca leaf with some sort of accelerant, some sort of Alkaloid I think, which actually would make the mouth go knumb. If that’s the case then it would be more addictive.

    Cocaine is really a different story. It’s highly concentrated and denatured. The leaf is different. It’s like comparing an apple to a bag of sugar.

  20. Pascvaks says:

    FWIW I know a little about the subject of addiction and “bad habits”. Eventually, you just can’t tell the difference.

  21. kuhnkat says:


    “But if you go on a holiday and chew some Coca or drink some Coca tea your not going to get addicted. But if you try cocaine or another drug, it is likely you are.”

    You obviously have not been in the party scene in any large town. There is a large percentage of people who snort cocaine who are NOT addicted. I make no claims about smoking crack as I have never been around it and “hear” it IS highly addictive in that concentration.

    I will repeat, addiction appears to be highly dependent on the person both physically and mentally. I am an “addictive” personality. I have to be careful of anything that I can become habituated to like video games, relationships, sugar, posting on Blogs…

  22. kuhnkat says:


    To press the point, there are people who try Heroin a couple of times and do not become addicted. Most would.

    Another issue you MAY find interesting is my father was an alcoholic till his death and I was a heavy drinker, but, never was an alcoholic. That is, I enjoyed getting drunk, but, I never had to have a drink. I could go cold turkey on alcohol at any time with no distress whereas stopping cocaine or cigarettes for even a day would be very difficult. For some reason my alcohol related behaviors were not nearly as excessive as with other items. Since my party days I rarely drink except for occasional glasses of wine. To me this would seem to highlight the combination of factors involved in addiction. Alcohol did not fit my self medicating personality as well as coke and cigarettes apparently.

    One size does NOT fit all.

  23. kuhnkat says:


    if you do not wish to read the whole thing search for “The Inevitability of Narcotic Addiction”.

Comments are closed.