Volcanic oatmeal, sir! Scientists explain why animals eat the earth

© Depositphotos / Andrey_Kuzmin / MadllenГеофагияVolcanic oatmeal, sir! Scientists explain why animals eat the earth© Depositphotos / Andrey_Kuzmin / MadllenПодпишись to daily updates RIA Science

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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.

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.

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.

Antidepressant and antibiotic

Researchers from the far Eastern branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, more than thirty years studying litigiu among the animals of the Sikhote-Alin mountains and the Caucasus, found in the hot springs, around which the animals consumed soil, water enriched with rare earth metals, as well as shale.

Meanwhile, accumulated evidence that the elements of the group of lanthanides accumulate in the glial tissues of the brain, involved in metabolism, blood coagulation, promote the removal of inflammatory processes. Based on this, scientists suggest that eating stones and earth help to overcome stress and strengthen the immune system.

© Depositphotos / spe_dep / YuliyaKirayonakBOОлени prefer to eat soil containing rare earth metals.Volcanic oatmeal, sir! Scientists explain why animals eat the earth© Depositphotos / spe_dep / YuliyaKirayonakBOОлени prefer to eat soil containing rare earth metals.

Researchers from the University of Lagos (Nigeria) showed that in clay soils may contain organisms producing antibiotics, which in turn helps to resist the germs and infections. Perhaps that is why about 80 percent of Africans practiced pica. However, European researchers warn that this nutritional habit is very injurious to health, especially for pregnant women and their future children, and contributes to anemia.