Humans are herbivores

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Humans are herbivores is an idea that has cropped up in the fringe sections of the vegan community. It is often used as an argument by vegans but can exist as an idea on its own.


Most of the arguments in support of this idea are based on comparative autonomy and physiology, as well as supposedly "common sense" speculations about the evolution of humans. They include the following:

  • The argument that our teeth are similar to animals such as cows. Aside from being inaccurate, this ignores that bonobos, despite having similar teeth, are omnivores.
A Bonobo taking pride in being different from humans
  • The argument that our colons are longer than those of other omnivorous mammals. This argument ignores the fact that our colons are shorter than those of specialized herbivores, and that chimps have even longer colons,[1] despite being omnivores and fairly frequent hunters.
  • The argument that there is no way that early hominids could have hunted down animals ourselves. While this seems water-tight it ignores the fact that we could have been scavengers[2] or hunted small prey.


Overall this argument is nothing more than an pseudoscientific appeal to nature that takes away from the more legitimate arguments for veganism and vegetarianism (such as the ethical and environmental reasons).

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