My anchovy of Lannister
December 5, 2013 2:09 AM Subscribe
posted by elgilito (31 comments total)
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Though humans often liken themselves to top predators such as lions, a new study
) used FAO data to calculate the human trophic level (HTL), i.e.
the position of Homo sapiens
in the food chain, and found that humans are actually on a par with anchovies and pigs with an average trophic level of 2.21
1 for plants to 5.5 for bears and orcas). Values vary by country, from 2.04 in the 97% plant-eating Burundi to 2.57 in the 50% fish-loving Iceland. As meat consumption is growing in countries like India and China, mankind is globally becoming more carnivorous and has been improving its trophic level by 3% since 1961.
According to the study, there are only five different groups of HTLs. In the period 1961–2009, sub-Saharan countries and most of Southeast Asia have a pattern of low and stable HTLs, due to their primarily plant-based diets. Low and increasing HTLs are found throughout Asia, Africa, and South America, including China and India. Central America, Brazil, Chile, Southern Europe, several African countries, and Japan, have higher initial HTLs than the previous group and show an increasing trend due to higher consumption of animals. North America, Northern and Eastern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, had high and stable HTLs until 1990, when they begin to decrease. Countries with the highest HTLs and decreasing trends include Iceland, Scandinavia, Mongolia, and Mauritania, where traditional diets are based on meat, fish, and dairy products with low vegetable consumption. The raw data used for the paper and the R scripts are available here