Desperate times call for desperate measures. I've been reading a lot about the Donner Party who came to a screeching halt on the Sierra Nevadas when snowstorms and starvation killed the majority of the party, the first settlers of Jamestown who faced certain death due to starvation, and last, but not least, the rugby team aboard a Uruguayan flight that crashed into the Andes, and their desperate attempts to survive. All of these truly unfortunate atrocities have two things in common: starvation and cannibalism.

I have a number of questions relating to Survival Cannibalism (which is what the above incidents are about). In all cases, survivors tried to avoid eating their deceased counterparts at all costs, I'm sure, so I'm wondering...

  • did they first developed pica disorder, where they craved other items instead? Like leather shoes, fur jackets, wagon canvases, etc? Are those even edible? Or is it not considered genuine pica disorder because "desperate times call for desperate measures," and it's not like they were craving that over a nice hamburger and steak fries. It's just that those were the only things available besides their deceased loved ones?
  • When they eventually did start consuming their deceased friends and family, what parts of the body were the most edible? Or the most commonly consumed areas? (As I imagine that the survivors wouldn't want to look at the face of the dead as they cut them as it would exacerbate survivor's guilt all the more)?
  • Read the book "Alive." It answers all your questions.
    – Carey Gregory
    Mar 15, 2017 at 0:16

1 Answer 1

  • Nails, hair, teeth and bones in general are not edible.
  • The ears and the larynx are difficult to digest.
  • Muscles are easy to remove and are also nutritious.
  • The liver is rich in nutrients and vitamins, easy to chew and swallow and, provided you haven't missed your anatomy classes, not very hard to remove. The same applies to blood clots and the spleen.
  • The bowels are usually avoided because they are rich in bacteria and viruses, in addition to their most repugnant content.

If I ever had to do it to survive, I'd go for the muscles which are just like raw beef.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.