Public Talk, "The Evolution of Insects As Food, From Hominids to the United Nations"

Event date: 
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Sponsored by The Department of Anthropology and The Department of Sustainable Development

The Evolution of Insects As Food, From Hominids to the United Nations

Dr. Julie Lesnik
Wayne State University 

Tuesday, March 21, 5:00pm
Anne Belk Hall, Room 118 

Recently, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations published a report promoting insects as a sustainable source of animal-based nutrition that should be considered for large-scale cultivation as our global population increases.  Since the 2013 FAO, small business start-ups are using pulverized crickets, or cricket “flour,” as a new protein source utilized in products such as cookies, crackers, and energy bars.  Cricket flour, as well as whole crickets, can also be purchased for personal use.  Some products are even being marketed as part of the popular “paleo diet.”  

Current perceptions of insects as food here in the United States are generally of disgust, even though insects are a common and desirable food in many different cultures around the world.   Common explanations for the absence of insects in our diet revolve around sendentism and agriculture, but these are phenomena that exist worldwide.  From an evolutionary perspective, edible insects have been a part of the human diet for millions of years, and it is with the radiation of our genus outside of Africa and into environments at more northern latitude that we begin to see the loss of this practice.  Much of our negative opinion on edible insects today can be traced back to the surprise of European explorers, unfamiliar with insects as food, encountering the behavior during their travels.


Department of Anthropology, Department of Sustainable Development
Contact name: 
Colin Quinn
Contact email:
Contact telephone: 
(828) 262-6412
Anne Belk Hall, Room 118
Free and Open to the Public

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