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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

it comes from time to time in discussion with people regarding food choices (meat/vegetarian/ vegan), meat eaters usually bring this up, what i don't understand is that our closest relatives, the great apes, like chimps, bonobos etc. primarily eat fruits and leaves and than apes like chimps eat insects and very seldom eat meat, which has been noted to only about 1.4% (http://www.wildchimps.org/wcf/english/files/chimp4.htm), the same is true for other great apes too, which i think are loosely classified when it comes to their dietary habits. 

So, my question is does eating just 1.4% meat makes the apes omnivores? 

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The ability to obtain nutrition from various sources would make one an omnivore.

I agree

but chimps do not eat meat for nutritional value..

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347200916816

I'm not sure what you are saying. Chimps are able to digest and get nutritional benefits from meat. They do not need that to survive, but they can use it. 

Chimpanzees eat meat for two simple reasons: they can catch it and they like it. Chimpanzees are particularly likely to eat meat during the dry season, when shortages of the foods that normally make up the bulk of their diet cause them to lose weight. Although the meat may be a useful source of calories during the dry season, wild chimpanzees don’t need to include meat or any other animal-based food in their diet to fulfill their needs for protein or any of the amino acids. In fact, plants provide all of the nutrients that are known to be essential for a chimpanzee, except for vitamin D (which they get from the abundant sunshine in Africa) and vitamin B12 (which comes from bacteria).

i think this hypothesis was found not to be true in the above study i linked to

Well, not really, if you read carefully. What is says is that the decision to hunt for chimpanzees is socially complex. They don't hunt because other food is scarce, the article says, so this goes with the fact that they actually like the meat, unlike orangutans who eat meat only if fruit is scarce. This article agrees more with what Neal is saying. The sharing of meat is not random so it has a social importance as well. That would go more towards thinking chimps are true omnivores because they actually seek the meat actively and hunt frequently even in conditions of food abundance.

Plus, that article is from 2000, it's 12 years old, there are many other articles published on this subject in the past 12 years. And basically they all say chimps are omnivores and chimps enjoy meat. Including the article you cite.

if you say,chimps enjoy meat, than u have to ignore that when chimps ‘eat’ meat; they put the meat between leaves and chew extracting the juices, these sandwiches are then, most commonly, discarded and not actually swallowed at all. Proteins and fats are much easier to obtain from nuts and seeds. When chimps do swallow these sandwiches there is a high presence of undigested (so unassimilated) meat in their feces.

The definition of an omnivore is an animal that can live eating both animal and plant sources of foods. Forget the chimps, even. Humans are omnivores: our teeth, our jaws, the way we digest foods tells us that biologically we are omnivores. Of course, different omnivores need different ratios of plants/meat to be healthy. Bears are omnivores, too (with the exception of polar bears) but they need more meat than plants. Humans are highly adaptable and can consume different ratios but the medical data indicate that eating primarily animal products is definitively unhealthy.

And while we are on the subject: does anyone know if there has ever been a totally vegan culture? I mean, never consuming any animal products, no milk, no eggs, no insects, or seafood, etc. I think it's only certain Buddhists that are completely vegans.

Having said that, humans can clearly survive and thrive on a plant-based diet. The question of whether to consume animal products, in my mind, is more a moral question than anything else.

omnivore, an animal that can live eating both animal and plant sources. since we have established that it only requires as small as 1.4% of meat to classify chimps as omnivores, why are cats, who i agree are carnivores, but can eat and adapt with vegan, vegetarian diet. even cat foods sold have grains in them like rice, wheat , corn.....so shall we start calling them omnivores?

Yes! Even carnivores do eat plants as well but their primary source of food comes from animal sources. They use plants as a medicine going on what i have seen with cats and dogs that I have had.

I know cats and dogs are domesticated but my dog Smokey even as a pup when she ate something that did not agree with her she would eat a grass that made her regurgitate what she had eaten and at other times she would eat another type of grass when she seemed off sorts and in awhile later she was back on top again. Our present moggy Anfeica (Russian name had to transliterate) likes to eat anything that the wife grows in pots, so we have to grow wheat and oats for her as she likes eating them.

Even in the wild when a carnivore gets desperate for food they will eat plants as well as insects to survive. 

Even orangutans will hunt and kill and eat slow lorises if their preferred food (fruit) is not available (link). But that does not make them necessarily an omnivore from a biological perspective, these animals are still frugivores because they will eat the meat only if desperate. 

How animals are classified from a biological perspective is different that what we see them put in their mouths. Self-medication does not count as diet. Dogs are omnivores (even wolves eat berries, and not for medication), but cats are obligate carnivores from a biological perspective. See my link in the answer below.

No, cats are actually obligate carnivores, no biologist would tell you otherwise. Some people adapt them to vegan diets but they end up having unhealthy cats and the diet is also supplemented by various factors (link), B12 among others, but not only. And no, we do not start calling a cat an omnivore just because people force them to eat a vegan diet. If you let a vegan cat outdoors, it will hunt birds and rodents. 

Corn and other grain fillers are put on dog and cat food so that the industry has something to do with all the freaking surplus, they are not added to improve the animal's health.

Plus, I said forget about chimps, in any case. We were talking humans, weren't we? Humans are not chimps. Humans are omnivores, even if you got a biologist to agree that 1.4% is not sufficient to call an animal an omnivore, and thus, a chimp would be a plant-eater (or fruit eater), that would not mean anything in terms of what humans are. Our last common ancestor with chimps was 507 million years ago. 

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