CT scans of Egyptian mummies show evidence of heart disease, which is usually thought of as a disease caused by the modern diet and sedentary lifestyles. High-status Egyptians ate a diet high in fatty meat from cattle, geese, and ducks.
Wild spider monkeys have invented a new tool—a body scratcher that may release medicinal compounds. Scientists observed spider monkeys using small sticks and branches to scratch themselves. The monkeys chewed the tools’ tips between scratches, possibly to release medicinal compounds from the plants.
Joe Rollino once lifted 635 pounds with one finger. He could bend quarters with his bare hands. Reputed to be the strongest man in the world, Joe was a lifelong vegetarian. He finally died at age 104 after being struck by a minivan while walking in his Brooklyn neighborhood.
French Women Do Get Fat
The myth that French women stay slim forever has been exposed after new statistics revealed that 15 percent of French women are obese. The trend for ever-meatier diets, including more fast food, has not spared France.
A Side of Carbon Emissions
Swedish diners are now aware of the carbon footprint of their meals. New food labels include the greenhouse gas emissions used to produce the product. Meat production is a leading source of greenhouse gasses. Experts believe the labels could help reduce Sweden’s culinary carbon footprint by as much as 25 to 50 percent.
A leading London heart surgeon has called for a ban on butter. Shyam Kolvekar, M.D., says a butter ban could save thousands of lives by reducing saturated fat intake. He also advises people to eat less meat.
Scientists in Italy have observed that chicks only three or four days old can do simple arithmetic. With no training, chicks were able to keep track of object shifts representing math problems such as 4-2=2.
And Speaking of Spiders…
A spider living in Central America and Mexico turns out to be a vegan. Named after an agile panther in Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 children’s classic, The Jungle Book, Bagheera kiplingi jumping spiders must dodge armies of ants to get to their favorite food—the tips of acacia plants.
New Center Honors Gandhi
The Mahatma Gandhi-Doerenkamp Centre for Alternatives to Animal Use in Life Science Education opened in October at Bharathidasan University in Tiruchirappalli, India. The opening marked the 140th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth and will promote humane science, blending the political and spiritual leader’s philosophy of nonviolence with life science education.
A Royal Feast
This past fall, England’s Windsor Castle threw a vegan feast for 200 dignitaries from around the world as part of the Celebration of Faiths and the Environment. The royal banquet was hosted by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Some scientists are pushing lawmakers to consider replacing beef with crickets and caterpillars to combat climate change. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is expected to release policy guidelines later this year encouraging countries to include insects in their food security plans.
Big Win for Animals
The Swiss Supreme Court recently ruled against the Polytechnic School of the University of Zurich, whose researchers wanted to conduct two neurological experiments on macaques. The experiments would have involved the maximum suffering of animals on the Swiss scale of severity with no direct benefit for human health.