Re: Cows in space?

Damien R. Sullivan (
Fri, 30 Jan 1998 14:14:40 -0800 (PST)

On Jan 29, 9:08pm, "Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin" wrote:

> Higher than chicken. There are some interesting characteristics of
> the rabbit digestive process; basically, they recycle. (If the
> ancient Jews had known about it, rabbit would probably not be
> kosher.)

Ah, here's my cue to spew my microbiology reading: Brock and Madigan,
_Biology of Microorganisms_. The ruminants are, in a sense, not
vegetarians. They eat grass, but that goes to the rumen, which is
basicually a fermentation vat for bacteria. The latter turn the grass
into various chemicals (fatty acids) and more bacteria. Some of the
former are absorbed directly. Many of the latter ride the cud back into
the stomach. So in a sense a cow is a bacteriovore, not an herbivore;
the grass is just feedstock for the germs.

Rabbits are not ruminamts. They do host a large population of bacteria,
but it's on the wrong end of their digestive tract. Thus the recycling,
and the comment about kosherness.

The book said horses have the same problem, but AFAIK they do not have
the same solution. I think horses can live wholly on grass, so I'm not
sure what's going on there. Help would be welcome.

> As a near-exclusive source of animal protein in the human diet,
> though, rabbit has a slight problem:
> not enough fat.

I've heard that you can die of fat starvation if your diet consists
wholly of wild jackrabbit and other low-fat foods. Even if true, I
doubt that would apply to domestic rabbit, which does not spend most of
its life as a solid running muscle.

-xx- GCU Librarian Bound in Pale Leather X-)

"Reminds me of a humorous sf story I read a few years back where an
amoeboid alien escaped punishment this way (it was guilty of selling
pornographic pictures to earthly biologists who used them to illustrate
mitosis in their textbooks). Both the resulting individuals claimed
innocence, and pointed out that they were underage."