Does Excrement Actually Taste Bad?

Simple question of some philosophical importance regarding objective reality …

Does excrement actually taste bad? Probably not to various bacteria which thrive on it.

But to you and me? Do we only smell a nasty, devilish, vile, upsetting, unpleasant, revolting, disgusting, unapologetic, evil, gross, nasty (did I say “nasty” - I’m running out of adjectives) … smell!!!???

Or did evolution design it as a way to get us not to eat it? Did those who “ate shit” tend not to reproduce as much as those who had “nasty” sense receptors and, equivalently, typically did not eat shit?

Does the smell of shit say something about our universe? Or just something about being human?

Did God, perhaps, invent the smell of shit as a warning against evil?

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Depends on how you season and cook it. Kopi Luwak is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. I can’t wait to try it.

Un Kono Kuro: So what makes it so special? Two things; coffee beans and elephant shit. Much like the Kopi Luwak coffee beans, harvested by the Civet, these beans are collected by the helpful elephants of Thailand’s Golden Triangle Elephant Foundation, digested and crapped out.

You may want to ask yourself what makes the shin on your M&Ms… Ancient secret recipe related to shellac and made from bug shit.

Really? God specifically encourages cooking bread with shit. "12 Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” 13 The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”

I just so happen to have an even better and more expensive coffee that I make in my own kitchen at home. Would you like to purchase some? It’s on “back order” right now. We’re a little backed up. Ate a block of cheese yesterday and production went wayyyyy down.

Reminds me of this certain Spanish prosciutto in which the pigs are fed acorns exclusively and are serronated with Mozart before they’re slaughtered. Tasty stuff. We purchased maybe 500 grams for something like $200!

Listen, lady. I’ve eaten shit before. Heck! Hasn’t everyone?

I just want to know why it tastes bad! Why is there evil in the world?

Ah. So you admit to the existence of God!

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Obviously. Haven’t you ever read any of my posts? He lives in a cave on the other side of the banana field.

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Aha! Liar!!! Bananas grow on trees!!!

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yes :nauseated_face:


I suspect most humans are revolted by the smell long before any such material comes anywhere near the taste buds.

Substances such as aphid honeydew might prove an exception here, because it’s basically sugary water, but I don’t recall any literature citing the collection of sufficient amounts to test.

Mind you, coprophagy is fairly widespread in the biosphere - dung beetles being obvious examples, along with various fly larvae. Though these organisms tend not to be specific with respect to the source of said dung - they’ll select pretty much the deposits of any mammal that’s badger sized or larger, and on the African savannahs, elephant dung is quite a prize for a dung beetle because of the sheer quantity available in relation to the beetle’s body size.

However, there are some interesting examples of insects who are very specific in their choice of dung source. The Lepidoptera provide some eyebrow raising examples.

Take foe example Scatochresis innumera, a micro-moth from the Family Oecophoridae. The entire larval development phase of this moth is spent munching on possum dung, and the larvae have never been found in any other medium.

The closely related Scatochresis episema is likewise an extreme specialist, its larval home of choice being koala dung. Koala droppings are, surprisingly, something of a popular choice: another close relative in the Oecophoridae, namely Telanepsia stockeri, is another koala dung specialist, and I suspect several others are waiting to be discovered.

Then we have sloths. Which have the interesting habit of storing up their dung in the bowels, then descending from the treetops to take a ginormous dump at ground level, before heading back to treetop safety.

This provides opportunities for other moths. Cryptoses choloepi is one such sloth dung specialist, belonging to the Family Pyralidae. Indeed, this is but one of no less than five species of sloth dung moth. Two other Cryptoses species, namely C. waagei and C. rufipictus, join the fray, and then we have Bradypophila garbei, another Pyralid, and a member of the Crambidae, Bradipodocola hahneli. This latter species lives its adult life in the weird micro-ecosystem formed by the mosses and algae growing in the fur of sloths.

Closer to home for those living in the UK, there’s an odd insect known for some strange reason as the Maid of Kent, Emus hirtus. This isn’t a dung beetle, instead it’s a rove beetle (Family Staphylinidae), which is restricted to Elmley Marshes in Kent. It doesn’t utilise the dung for food, but instead as a hunting ground for its prey, which consists of the numerous species that take up residence in cow pats.

Yes, biology is weird at times. But if there’s any organic material present in the environment, you can be sure some organism will exist to metabolise it, and not just bacteria either.

At some point I’ll have to introduce everyone to the hilarity that is Placobdelloides jaegerskioldei, otherwise known as the Hippo Arse Leech. Not a coprophage, but a blood feeder, and one that’s only ever been observed reproducing in the rectal passage of the hippopotamus.

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Among our ancestors the ones who found it revolting were less likely to become infected by microorganisms that were potentially lethal, this is true of many species, but not all of course.

Those who ate faeces were more likely to ingest the deadly bacteria that is in human waste, so yes, their being dead made it hard to pass on your genes.

There is no objective evidence for either assertion that I am aware of.

What deity, define it, and what objective evidence suggests it exists, or is even possible? Evolution explains this without recourse to superstition of any kind.

" Ours is not the only species that goes out of its way to avoid exposure to disgusting things like excrement, and for good reason. Psychologist Paul Rozin, of the University of Pennsylvania, argues that our disgust response reduces the likelihood of ingesting disease-causing microorganisms in decayed meat, faeces, vomit, or blood. It may even help keep us away from others who may be infected or diseased. In his book How the Mind Works, US psychologist Steven Pinker writes that disgust may reflect an intuitive understanding of microbiology."


Obviously, someone has never searched 'Scratch and Sniff" on YouTube.

Holy shit! Thanks to Cali’s post, I never knew there was so much shit to be learned about shit. I now know more shit about shit than I ever thought I could know.

You can always rely upon me to serve up trivia from the outer reaches of biology :smiley:


I get that baby elephants eat their parent’s dung (yeah, I have even seen it myself, IRL) to build a bacteria culture in their guts so they can utilise all that hard-to-digest food they eat (grass, leaves, bushes, etc). My question now is: if excrement/dung smells and tastes bad, how can such behaviour have started in the first place? And what’s up with dogs that, with their extremely sensitive sense of smell, eat the excrements of other animals?

My chinchilla eats his own poop sometimes. They do it to obtain the nutrients that they didn’t get the first time through.

And my dog loves kitty rocca!

Ratty, Ratty, Ratty, you poor ignorant rat. Will you never learn? Bananas do not grow on trees. The banana plant is often called a banana tree but **it is a herb." It does not have a woody trunk like trees. So, it is classified as a herb. (You gotta learn not to make assertions.) You know, you can Google these things before you say them.

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And botanically, bananas are not fruits, but berries.

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I guess even tree dicks are getting expensive these days!

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