Are Humans Predators or Prey Animals?

In the “are humans predator, or prey” argument one can assert either way.

It would be overly simplistic to think it is definitive to separate animals into those that are predators versus those that are prey. Obviously there are many animals that only eat other animals incidentally, like grazers that eat the insects on the plants they consume. There are also many animals that we tend to think of as predators, like bears, that derive a great deal of their nutrition from plants and fungi. There are other animals that are much more predatory than most people realize, like tree squirrels, which are effective predators of birds, bird eggs, and mice.

In the “are humans predator, or prey animals” argument you can assert either way. As to being prey, humans were subject to predation primarily from big cats, hyaenas, and wolves until we learned to manufacture weapons and set fire, and stay together in groups especially at night. Nowadays, virtually no humans seriously threatened by any predators unless we are foolish enough to expose ourselves.

As to being predator, until approximately 12,000 years ago, all humans practiced hunting-gathering.

Ape diet
Meat Beneficial But not a must

Humans are “generalists,” meaning that we are designed to consume a wide variety of foods such as plants, animals, fungi, and even bacterial foods like yogurt, and cheese.

That said, data from our teeth, fossil hominids, and our two close cousins, the chimp and the bonobo, suggest that our kind was probably designed to eat a predominantly vegetable-based diet—however, other primates will also eat meat when they can get it, from termites to other primates.

There are a few nutrients that humans can obtain far more easily from meat than from vegetables, and the calorie content of meat (possibly from scavenging as well as hunting) may have contributed to our survival on the savannas of the Pleistocene and before. Even just the marrow from a long-bone of an mammals could have given us enough calories to keep going.

Meat is not a necessary part of our diet. There are millions of perfectly healthy people, such as Sikhs and some Hindus who avoid all meat for religious reasons. Our generalist abilities and cultural adaptations based on them have allowed us to become the most invasive species on the planet, surviving in virtually every corner of the planet. Being able to eat such a wide array of foods exemplifies such abilities

Conclusion

Is homo sapiens a predator or  a prey animal is not an easy question to answer. 

Anatomically speaking, humans do not have the traits necessary for prey animals to save their lives from predators however, neither do we have traits needed for predators to catch prey animals.

That said, humans can circumstantially be predators, thanks to tool use and intelligence, or fall prey to predators.

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Tamer Aydogdu
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