What does “being omnivores” mean?

Posted on 2 min read

The word “omnivore” comes from the Latin omni (all) and voracious (to eat or swallow). This means that omnivorous species, like humans, can (must?) consume both animal and plant-based foods. But are we meant to eat everything?

What diet should we follow?

Should we eat meat? Should we follow a semi-vegetarian, vegetarian, vegan diet? A point of anatomy is essential. We are going to compare (without going into too much detail) the anatomy of herbivores with that of carnivores based on 4 points:

  • Teeth
  • Jaw, mouth, facial muscles
  • The digestive system
  • Nails/claws/hooves

According to these criteria, the man would be a herbivore.

Our teeth are not ideal for cutting tough pieces of meat that are difficult to extract from animals. They are rather smooth and not very sharp.

Our facial and jaw muscles would be made to chew food for a long time, such as fruits and vegetables. Just like herbivores.

Because of our long digestive system, it is also suitable for herbivory. This length allows us to digest all the elements present in plants in order to extract the nutrients.

Finally, our nails do not look like sharp claws at all.

But we are entitled to ask ourselves questions that I find highly relevant: is it wise to carry out a study of anatomy to determine (in principle) our ideal diet? Does it make sense to compare the human species with other species in the animal kingdom? 

The unique case of the human species

The human species is so special that it is ultimately incomparable to other species. Instead of comparing species with each other, why not study the human race and take into account its evolution?

Yes, the human race has traits that could lead one to think that it is a herbivore, but we are forgetting an important advantage: an ultra-developed brain, compared to other species.

The human race has rather limited physical capacities but outstanding cognitive abilities.

We don’t have any claws but we have been able to sharpen tools, sharp spears and so on.

We are rather slow in the race, but we have developed traps to catch all kinds of prey more powerful than us.

We are versatile creatures. So why limit ourselves to easily accessible plants, fruits and tubers?


To conclude, I would say that the human race is adaptive, an opportunist. We can and are adapted to eat anything, just as our ancestors did before us.

Let’s take them as an example and eat meat and seafood from time to time, vegetables, fruits, seeds and berries, dairy products, etc. Let us also take the example of what they did not consume: highly processed products that are invading supermarkets nowadays.

Buy fresh and raw products, cook them and explore all the flavours provided by nature that made us omnivores!

What do you think?

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